Then, just looking through the list of trade deals in for on 2013
, one sees no less than 22 agreements on trade and commerce, including the 1996 Agreement
"for the conclusion of negotiations between the European Community and the United States under Article XXIV:6, with annexes and exchanges of letters".
Currently, of great interest is the 2015 Cooperation Agreement
between the United States Department of Commerce and The European Commission Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs on Clusters, which goes alongside the Cooperation Arrangement
on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
All these data are more than adequate to demonstrate that Mr Moore's assertion about the EU not having a trade deal with America is not rooted in fact. The reality is that the two blocs are bound by an intricate network of bilateral and multilateral deals, all of which are administered jointly by The Transatlantic Council
, described as the "primary plenary forum for economic dialogue between the United States and the European Union".
As a result of this, the transatlantic economy
supports an estimated 15 million jobs. The EU and the United States are each other's leading partners by trade volume (imports plus exports). Every day, the EU and the US trade goods and services worth $2.7 billion. In 2012, bilateral trade in goods alone was worth $650 billion.
It thus ill-behoves the likes of Moore – and the many in the "leave" camp – to parade that myth that EU and the US, and British trade with America has effectively grown organically with "no trade deal". Simply to walk away from the EU without replicating the network of agreements with the US would cause significant perturbation to trade flows.
However, where multilateral agreements pertain, we are parties to them in our own name and can rely on continuity with little more than the formal diplomatic mechanism of an "exchange of letters". Similarly, with the agreement of the United States, we can rely on the presumption of continuity for the carry-over of bilateral deals.
What we should not do is adopt the head-in-the-sand attitude, fuelled by the profound level of ignorance that we are seeing – and pretend that trade with the US will continue unchanged after Brexit, unless we take active steps to make it happen.
But, from recognising that there are trade deals already in place also stems the longer-term solution to US-UK trade relations. The arrangement of most interest is the US participation in UNECE, especially in WP.29 on motor vehicle standards.
This covers not only vehicles themselves by their components and, in 2012 we saw a Global Technical Regulation
(GTR) on passenger vehicle tyres. Harmonisation of standards on this single product was estimated
to boost global trade by $40 billion, providing a mechanism for trade liberalisation that has eluded US-EU negotiators engaged in TTIP negotiations.
Although in 2014 the US abstained from the vote to adopt the standard, work is in progress
to modify the standard to make it more US-friendly, thus demonstrating that UNECE is a realistic forum
for ongoing trade negotiations.
Arguably, sector-specific – i.e., "unbundled" - agreements have far more chance of success than the "big bang" TTIP-style negotiations. Global agreement on just Regulation 0
has the potential to save billions, even though most people have never heard of it. And in that case, the UK – as a full member of UNECE – can be part of ongoing trade dialogue with the US, even (or especially) when it is outside the EU framework.
Being at the back of the queue – as Mr Obama would have it – when there is no bus scheduled is no different to any other position. No one is going anywhere. To be a full member of UNECE, with the possibility of expanding its role into other sectors, is far more promising. And that facility for expansion already exists through WP.6
, in which the US takes an active part.
In short, therefore, we need to recognise that there is already a significant network of trade deals between the EU and the US. In that network also lies the answer to ongoing US-UK relations, which would make TTIP redundant and afford better chances of successful trade.
Thus, since Mr Obama's queue is going nowhere, we're better off making our own arrangements outside the EU.