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Brexit will make the UK ‘infinitely more vulnerable’ to trade wars, Labour warns

Brexit will make the UK “infinitely extra weak” to commerce wars akin to the standoff between Donald Trump and key allies over metal tariffs, a Labour frontbencher has stated.

Barry Gardiner, the shadow worldwide commerce secretary, warned that Britain was weaker with out the load of the EU’s 500m sturdy shopper market to discount with after the US slapped large tariffs on metal and aluminium imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

The transfer has drawn widespread condemnation and accusations of “protectionism”, whereas the EU has stated it should impose countermeasure tariffs on US merchandise resembling metals, sweetcorn and tobacco.

Liam Fox, the worldwide commerce secretary, can also be dealing with stress to intervene to guard greater than 30,000 British staff employed within the metal business.

Mr Gardiner noticed the federal government should not be “cowed or bullied” by the US president’s resolution to log out the 25 per cent duties on metal however warned of the broader implications for Britain’s buying and selling clout outdoors the EU.

He informed the At this time programme: “Theresa Might has actually not managed to steer Mr Trump in any respect to desert the plans that he’s had, regardless of the very fact we’ve now had two months the place they’ve been on maintain.

“All this particular relationship – the concept that we’re going to safe a particular deal as soon as we’ve left the EU with America – it’s a nonsense.”

Requested if the UK could be extra weak to commerce wars outdoors of the EU, he stated: “Infinitely extra weak as a result of we won’t have the load of a 500m sturdy shopper market behind us.”

Mr Gardiner additionally urged the prime minister to drop her Brexit “pink strains” and take into account becoming a member of Labour in supporting a brand new customs union with the EU after Brexit.

He stated: “Theresa Might’s pink strains prohibit her from doing and prohibit her from having that negotiating power and that’s why she should assume once more about her personal negotiating strains and a customs union with the EU.”

Mr Trump initially imposed the tariffs in March, claiming that relying an excessive amount of on imported metals was a menace to America’s nationwide safety.

Nonetheless he gave Canada, Mexico and the European Union a brief exemption for negotiations – a reprieve that expired at midnight on Thursday.

Final night time, Dr Fox urged Brussels to keep away from a “tit-for-tat” commerce warfare with the US however insisted the UK had not dominated out taking counter measures.

He informed Sky Information: “It’s totally disappointing that the US has chosen to use metal and aluminium tariffs to international locations throughout the European Union, allies of the US, and all within the identify of nationwide safety.

“And, within the case of the UK, the place we ship metal to the US that’s very important for his or her companies and their defence business, it’s patently absurd.

“We completely don’t rule out counter measures. And we don’t rule out taking a dispute to the World Commerce Organisation at Geneva.

“Clearly, we nonetheless hope the US will assume once more about this.

“However, it might be an ideal pity if we ended up in a tit-for-tat commerce dispute with our closest allies.”

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