After Prime Minister David Cameron finished negotiating with European Union leaders to get a “better deal” for Britain, the debate of whether Britain should stay or exit the EU intensified after the Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced his support for Brexit. (The New York Times 2/22/2016)

The general argument for withdrawing from the EU has been focused on recovering Britain’s lost sovereignty from the supranational organization. Furthermore, EU’s inability to effectively deal with the migrant crisis as well as the Greek and other sovereign debt crisis have convinced many in Britain that the loss of British sovereignty is not worth the incompetence of the EU. With the growing perception that the EU is pushing unfavorable policy to the people in Britain, there is a growing movement for Britain to regain its national sovereignty by leaving the EU.

Prime Minister David Cameron has attempted to address the concerns of the Brexit supporters by extracting key concessions from EU leaders without having Britain leave the EU. His hope is that Britain can push away unfavorable EU policies while still getting the political and economical benefits from being a member of the EU.

One major cost of leaving the EU is the tariff question. Britain exports a significant amount of goods to other EU member states without tariff. If Britain does decide to leave the EU, there is a possibility of a long trade agreement negotiation that not only introduces uncertainty in the general markets in Britain but also a threat of a tariff from all exported goods to the EU. This will ultimately hurt the British economy and even perhaps make Britain less competitive even on the political stage in the world.

While the supporters of Brexit has been preoccupied with the political angle of the issue, unless they can provide an alternative and favorable economic benefits of exiting the EU, their Brexit argument is fatally incomplete, and their agenda might threaten Britain’s historical competitiveness at the global stage.


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