As manufacturers of cars and other goods warn the Theresa May government of job losses and other impact of Brexit, a report promoted by former prime minister Tony Blair on Thursday flagged the adverse fallout on services exports and cautioned that a trade deal with India will be “hard”,The Hindustan Times reports.
Blair, a prominent voice opposed to Brexit, resigned as prime minister in 2008. He has since refrained from the cut-and-thrust of politics, but intervenes in debates on key issues such as Brexit through his Institute for Global Change.
The institute’sreport, highlighting the adverse impact of Brexit on the United Kingdom’s services sector, notes the sectorhas driven three-fifths of the rise in UK exports over the past 20 years. In 2016, Britain’s surplus in services trade came to almost £100 billion.
The report mentions inconsistencies in the claims of pro-Brexit leaders, who oftenpromised easy signing of free trade agreements with major economies such as India after leaving the European Union to compensate for the potential loss of access to the European Single Market.
It added there is nothing to suggest the US, let alone China or India, is minded to facilitate increased services trade by harmonising its regulations with those of the UK, or by agreeing that British firms could sell services in its markets under UK rules.
“Negotiations with the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia and India — will be hard. None has shown any interest in opening up its services sector to greater international competition. The only chance the UK has of levering open these markets would be from within the EU, although even this is unlikely to succeed,” the report said.
Citing figures to make its case, the report noted that the EU (together with the European Free Trade Association) accounted for 43% of Britain’s services exports in 2016, worth around than £110 billion to the UK economy. The Commonwealth accounted for 10% that year, while Brazil, Russia, India and China accounted for only 3.6%.