Trade deals ‘will not outweigh Brexit losses’

Uncertainty over the timing and mode of Brexit would hurt the UK economy, a leading economist has warnedVICTORIA JONES/GETTY IMAGES

The British economy will suffer significant losses if it withdraws from the EU single market even if it succeeds in striking free-trade deals with the rest of the world, a leading economist has warned.

Simon Kirby, head of macroeconomic modelling and forecasting at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), said trade volumes would probably fall 30 per cent regardless of the number of free-trade deals it agreed with non-EU countries.

The analysis is based on World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs, which could be imposed if the UK pursues a hard Brexit.

Mr Kirby said his research suggested that the UK’s total trade, accounting for both imports and exports, had increased by about 60 per cent as a direct consequence of being part…

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