The letter (July 4) from Willard Workman at the US Chamber of Commerce and
others makes the case that the "EU, not America, is best for Britain". But
it is clear that the argument is presented with the American interest at
heart. Its transparency is laudable though its logic is fallacious. The
penultimate paragraph states that "Britain is the gateway to Europe" and
argues that for this reason we should remain with Europe.
Yet the ability for the US to trade with Britain, a fully paid-up member of
the EU, is born of our membership of the World Trade Organisation. The US
can trade with us through international treaty. But every EU member state is
also a member of the WTO. America does not need us as a bridge or "gateway".
It can trade with every EU member state as of a right.
However, as an MP my duty is to argue for the British interest. The UK is
the biggest investor in the US and vice versa. We share a common language
and legal system. Britain’s visible trade with the dollar zone, albeit some
in transit through Rotterdam, exceeds that with the eurozone. Sixty-nine per
cent of all our foreign direct investment is with the US and Canada. Only 20
per cent is with the EU. So who are we kidding?
Gordon Brown’s hesitation in committing to the euro lies in our economic
asymmetry to the euro-territories and, irritating to the Government, our
synchronicity to the US economy. Japanese companies will argue soon enough
for Britain to stay out of the eurozone when, in due course, the economic
cycle results in the euro becoming stronger than the pound.
A recent cost-benefit analysis by the Institute of Directors suggested that
EU membership, taking all inward investment and other benefits into account,
is costing our nation between $75 billion and $100 billion each and every
year. In this light, Senator Phil Gramm’s exhortation at least to consider
the Nafta alternative is not in Britain’s long-term interests to ignore.