Trading Kingdoms: Brexit or Bremain? – The Post

Trading Kingdoms: Brexit or Bremain?

An uncomfortable union for the UK? (photo:iStock)
June 23rd, 2016 7:00 am| by Mariano A Davies

Heading into the week that will finally answer the question Brexit or Bremain, here is an executive summary of the key campaign issues.

Leave’s assumptions
The official Leave Campaign has focused on a number of assumptions.

Britain’s Contribution to the EU – the BREXIT campaigners claim Britain’s contribution to the EU has always been far too high. They remind the voters that the EU gave into this claim in 1984 (the Fontainebleau Rebate), when a rebate of 66 percent was negotiated by the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. This rebate was finally phased out in 2011 and replaced by phenomenal and escalating contributions since then, according to the BREXIT campaigners.

The Freedom of Movement Policy – since this policy allows EU citizens to move freely within EU states and more or less to enjoy the same benefits as local citizens, this is considered a heavy financial drain on the British economy, when a holistic view is taken on all attainable benefits.

British Export Constraints – although official British exports to the EU are said to be 45 percent of GDP, BREXIT campaigners maintain that only 12 percent of the accounted costs are exports to the EU, while 88 percent of British exports are forced to adhere to the same EU over-regulatory measures. They claim that this strangles British export competitiveness.

Remain focus

The official Remain Campaign has likewise chosen to focus on a few select issues.
BREXIT: Economic Decline – Remain campaign economists have calculated that a BREXIT result will annually cost each British household £4,200 until 2020 and that Britain will experience a GDP decline of approximately 6 percent by 2030. The assumption here is that export costs to the EU would increase and not be compensated by lucrative WTO agreements.

London: Global Finance Capital – the main argument here is that London outside the EU would not have the same level of attraction for EU investment, which would be a heavy loss for the British economy.

Remain and Reform – the Remain campaign would argue that Britain’s long-term economic interests would not be served through geographical, political and economic isolation.

The upshot
Whatever the result, this referendum is likely to be a wake-up call for both Britain and the EU.

Mariano A Davies

Mariano A Davies is the president & CEO of both the language learning provider Oxford Institute ( and the British Chamber of Commerce in Denmark ( BCCD, the Danish arm of a global network of British chambers, provides networking and facilitation through events and other professional services for the business community in Denmark.