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Letter: Mailbag - Trading figures.

Byline: TIM WORSTALL

YOU published a letter from Richard Corbett MEP (May 30) in which he asked this rhetorical question: "Jonathan Arnott is disingenuous in suggesting that Britain could leave the EU and still enjoy the benefits, such as access to the European market. Why would our European partners do us any favours if we walked out slamming the door?"

Sadly Mr. Corbett seems ignorant of the very basics of the economics of trade. We've known since Adam Smith and David Ricardo first published (1776 and 1817 for those keeping count at home) that the value of trade is that it makes the things we buy cheaper or better at the same price than if we made them ourselves. The value to our continental cousins of tradewith us is therefore in what they buy from us.

Our access to the European market is a favour to them, not us. Now it is true that some of said cousins might be as ill-educated on this subject asMr. Corbett but that's not a strong argument in favour of our allying ourselves economically with those, like again Mr Corbett, some two centuries out of touch.

It might also be worth mentioning that Patrick Minford, an economist somewhat more up to date, has done the calculations about what would the effects on the economy of the UK of our leaving the EU and being denied that "access to the Europeanmarket". Our economy would grow by 3%.

TIM WORSTALL Messines, Portugal
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jun 9, 2008
Words:246
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