Brexit and a trade deal


Sir, – Michael Gove is graciously pleased to tell us that Britain’s door is ajar for negotiations to continue with the EU on a free trade deal (News, October 19th). I can only imagine the relief felt in the capitals of a trading bloc of 650 million souls that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in a market of about 70 million consumers is not entirely closing the door on a deal for the free movement of goods between these two markets. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.

Sir, – You dispute Boris Johnson’s statement that the UK can “prosper mightily” after leaving the EU without a deal (“Brexit trade talks: Time to stop grandstanding”, Editorial, October 19th).

The European Union has an unenviable future: a rapidly shrinking share of world trade, intractable youth unemployment and just 6 per cent of the world’s population.

Only 43 per cent of UK exports go to the EU, down from 68 per cent in 2004 and still falling.

The UK has had a trade deficit with the EU in every year since 1999 and a surplus with non-EU countries since 2012.

Britain will soon join the 94 per cent of the world’s population not constrained by the EU customs union.

Ireland will not be so lucky. – Yours, etc,