Richasdotcom wrote:the old Brexit myth of the EU not doing deals with others - they have more bilateral deals than anybody else. The early ones not branded as free trade areas but acting in the same way as the latter ones branded as FTAs. When we leave the EU we lose all of those.
The EU is a restrictive market, puts up barriers and quotas etc. The UK will be a more open market, easier for others (non-UK) to provide services/bid for contracts ...etc. unrestricted exports/imports.
Where that isn't reciprocated, then we can impose restrictions ... which tend to subsequently evolve into formal trade agreements (conditions/limits).
A less regulated, low tax, geopolitically stable country such as how the UK will be after Brexit, is a magnet for investment/trade. In contrast the EU might impose customs duties, quotas, access, red tape directed towards the UK in a trade agreement, or failing that have to accept WTO terms (for which a primary factor is not to discriminate). Going down the aggravated divorce route, would have the UK reciprocating harsh EU terms/conditions, which for one would be devastating for Ireland and a significant hit for the Germans. Any sensible pairing of negotiators with respect to Brexit is more likely to put aside political point scoring in favour of conditions that are more amicable to both sides.
The primary argument for retaining some form of Single Market membership is for the benefit of corporate structure/simplification. Without such membership (which is a given, given that all lead Brexit campaign on both sides said that the referendum was a vote to leave the single market, and that membership has enforced free movement) and we transition over to having single market access as per any other non-EU state. Corporate structures will need to adapt around that, typically by reporting to two entities instead of one and under such sub-division the UK is the more likely to retain the lion share. The Irish in awareness of that have been looking at specific rules such as directors having to reside in Ireland ...etc. however where one puts up such barriers, others for the sake of economic benefit will relax their rules (Luxembourg for instance). Catch 22, such that ultimately a more broad/common and amicable agreement is the more likely outcome. Simple grandfathering is IMO the more likely outcome (UK inherits the agreements, many of which are WTO based anyway, for which a agreement with the EU is also agreement with each individual entity within that). New members for instance inherit all EU agreements, being added as another country commonly sharing the same agreements. Reasonable for that to also work the other way around, with a departing member continuing to hold the agreements, until such times it might look to revise/drop individual cases itself.
Seems as though the cup runneth over rather than being half full. Unfortunately it is more than half empty. As a feee trader I wish it were true that countries will happily sign up to free trade in bilateral deals as you suggest is certain. Unfortunately it just ain't so, that is why the Doha round of WTO talks is still completely stuck. Indeed matters are getting worse with Trump threatening to tear up NAFTA, impose illegal (non WTO) tariffs on Mexico and just about anyone else. His attitude to Brexit it is to use it as an opportunity to steal UK trade. There is no queue of countries waiting to sign good free trade deals with the UK post Brexit, indeed China has scaled down the initiative Osborne was chasing since the vote.
Even friendly countries like Canada or New Zealand face difficulties with such deals as they have their own arrangements with third parties including the EU. This includes agreements on tariff free quotas of goods that are currently with the EU - adding to those quotas requires agreement/acceptance by their other trade partners to maintain the delicate balance currently under threat by Trump and others.
You are right that the EU places barriers to non members whilst opening up trade to EEA members. This is acceptable under the WTO - what would not be acceptable undeer the WTO would be a special deal for new post membership Brexit UK - The WTO insistence on non discrimination is with regard to all members in the same situation so protecting non EEA countries from the UK as a non EEA member being given special treatment.
To make matters even worse all our WTO deals and agreements are as an EU member, we don't have a clear default to "return" to, we would need to negotiate that with the same WTO that has nort progressed Doha since 2001.
Meanwhile the threat of sanctions potentially in breach of the WTO by us has relatively little weight compared to access to the US, EU and China. It is not a big stick, well not as big as the EU's stick anyway.
Now IF we were negotiating only with Germany and Ireland I think we would have a much better deal than having to please every one of the 27. They do have trade surpluses to the UK but most countries in the EU do not.We may have some sensible moderate potential allies on the other side of the table but we also have some who are deeply hostile to any break up contagion and want the UK to have a bad deal, even if that means Germany and Ireland suffer.
It really is not as simple, easy, straightforward as you believe and some Brexiters claim despite knowing it ain't so.