We have heard today of the importance of our trading relationship with the EU. Indeed, as a bloc it is our most significant trading partner, with some £236 billion of exports in 2016.Why then, many have asked, would we destroy that by leaving the customs union—which we will? To this I say two things, which form the basis of my speech today. The first is that we must reject the premise of the question: we are not seeking to destroy that trade. It is in no one’s interests that we erect trade tariff barriers, so we must all remind ourselves that we start with the building blocks of free movement of goods. We must, as these two papers say, simply make the case to avoid protectionism and maintain low or no tariffs, which, I hope, will lead to mutual gain for us all. The second is to encourage more dynamic thinking on how we plan our trade policy.
Lord Leigh of Hurley writes: "Doomsday scenarios have not come to pass, now the government must ensure the good momentum continues...In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote there were some dire predictions by consultants and experts that forecast Brexit would lead to a tail off in mergers and acquisitions activity and investment. It had seemed these were likely to come true when there was a post EU referendum lull in dealmaking and Britain fell out of the top five most favourable destinations for companies to invest last year in rankings by accountancy firm EY..."