Vote Leave to create 300,000 British jobs

  • In the last few years, the EU has sought to complete five key trade deals, with the USA, Japan, ASEAN, India and Mercosur. Because of protectionism in other European countries, the EU has failed to get a trade deal with any of these countries. 
  • When we Vote Leave we will be able to do trade deals with all of these countries much more quickly. According to the EU’s own figures this will create 284,000 new jobs in the UK.

Commenting, Boris Johnson said:

'If we Vote Leave we will be able to forge bold new trade deals with growing economies around the world. These are deals that the EU has tried and failed to achieve due to protectionist forces in Europe.

‘After we liberate ourselves from the shackles of Brussels we will be able to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs right across the UK.

‘Predictably the gloomsters want to do down Britain - they claim we are not strong enough to stand on our own two feet. What total tosh. There is a huge world of opportunity and prosperity out there if we take this opportunity to take back control.’

The EU’s faltering trade negotiations

In July 2012, the European Commission announced that it was aiming to secure trade agreements in the near future with the USA, Japan, ASEAN, India and Mercosur. It claimed these trade negotiations would result in the creation of over 2.2 million new jobs in the EU (European Commission, July 2012, link).

Despite the BSE campaign and the Government claiming that the EU gives us extra trading clout, four years on the EU has failed to secure any of these promised trade deals (European Commission, March 2016, link). By contrast, both Iceland (which has a population of less than half a million) and Switzerland have negotiated free trade agreements with China (Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 15 April 2013,link; Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, 2014,link).

Vote Leave to create 300,000 jobs in the UK

If we Vote Leave and do deals with these countries, we will be able to create hundreds of thousands more jobs in the UK.

The European Commission calculated its 2.2 million figure by multiplying the coefficient of 16,700 jobs embodied in each € billion of extra-EU exports citing an academic study. This means that the UK proportion of these jobs can be calculated by dividing the EU coefficient of 16,700 by the UK’s proportion of extra-EU trade - 14.99% in 2015 (European Commission, 2016, link). This process produces a new coefficient of 2,503 UK jobs embodied in each € billion of extra-EU exports.








EU figures

Predicted impact on exports (€bn)







New jobs







UK figures

Predicted impact on exports (€bn)







New Jobs







It is further possible to calculate the regional figures for this by adjusting this figure to each region’s contribution to UK GVA:


% share UK GVA (2014)

Total number of jobs

North East



North West



Yorks and The Humber



East Midlands



West Midlands



East of England






South East



South West









Northern Ireland



Source: ONS, link (extra regional jobs not included in this table)

So long as Britain remains in the EU, the tariffs that the UK has to charge will continue to be set, not by elected British politicians, but by the Council of Ministers on a proposal from the Commission (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, art. 31, link). The UK will also remain precluded from making its own free trade agreements by virtue of the EU’s common commercial policy. Instead, it will continue to have to rely on the European Commission (TFEU, art. 207, link).

The EU’s record in securing trade deals has been disastrous

The EU has been involved in these trade negotiations for many years, but without success.


Date negotiations started

Date negotiations ended


June 2013

Not completed


November 2012

Not completed


April 2007

Not completed


April 2007

Not completed



Not completed

There is little prospect of major change in the coming months:

The proposed US-EU free trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has continued to flounder. Negotiations between the US and EU over this deal are likely to grind to a halt, according to France's trade minister, Matthias Fekl (BBC News, May 2016, link). He has said that France could walk away from the deal. As France would need to ratify the trade agreement, this would be fatal for the negotiations.

The proposed EU-Japan deal has also failed to make progress. The 16th round of negotiations were held in April. The European Commission says that the deal could be struck this year, but only if ‘the substance is right and that the level of ambition of the agreement is sufficiently high’ (European Commission, March 2016, link). The prospect of serious progress in the next few years is very low.

The proposed EU-ASEAN deal remains at the stage of ‘informal talks’ with the EU seeking to ‘assess the level of ambition’ (European Commission, March 2016, link).

The proposed EU-India trade discussions have stalled, with the EU stating that ‘negotiations were brought to a de facto standstill in the summer 2013 due to a mismatch of the level of ambitions and expectations, and discussions on outstanding issues have recently resumed with a view to assessing whether and how negotiations could be resumed’ (European Commission, March 2016, link). The Spokesperson for Trade in the Directorate-General Communication in the European Commission, Daniel Rosario, said more recently ‘we were engaged for a long period of time with India in negotiations for a free trade agreement but unfortunately the process came to a standstill a few years ago and since 2013 there was no further movement in this process… We cannot allow ourselves to go back to the negotiating table... it is better if necessary to keep on preparing on a more backstage level so that when we sit in front of each other, we have something meaningful to deliver’ (Times of India, 26 April 2016,link).

Negotiations for the EU-MERCOSUR trade talks were suspended in 2004, but were officially re-launched at the EU-Mercosur summit in Madrid in May 2010. The discussions were considered to be not particularly productive and a resolution seems unlikely in the near future (European Commission, March 2016, link).

Other countries have made clear that they would strike free trade deals with the UK after we take back control

Political leaders from around the world have made clear that they would be happy with the UK leaving, and would want to strike a free trade agreement with the world’s fifth largest economy:

  • New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key has made clear that, outside the EU, the UK would be able to renew its trade deals with other countries. He said: ‘we would want to preserve both our existing position with Great Britain and continue to grow that relationship. We would need to find a way through that. The reality is there are a number of mechanisms where that would be possible’ (Daily Telegraph, October 2015,link).

  • Iceland's former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson said while he was in office that 'The UK is one of our most important trading partners and whatever you decide to do we would like to have a free trade deal with you, whether through the EEA or independently' (Telegraph, 9 March 2016,link).

  • The Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo has been reported as saying that Mexico would negotiate a new free trade agreement with the UK should its citizens vote to leave the EU (mlex, 18 April 2016,link).

  • Member of the Canadian Parliament Jason Kenney has said: ‘There is no doubt that Canada would have had free trade w/ the UK long ago if UK had the capacity to negotiate its own trade agreements… A post BREXIT Canada-UK FTA might get done before the Canada-EU agreement, given the interminable process for EU ratification of CETA!’ (Twitter, 23 April 2016,link,link).

  • The Australian senator, James Paterson, has backed Britain leaving the EU and said that, were the UK to leave, Australia and other Commonwealth countries would strike a free trade deal with the United Kingdom (Daily Express, April 2016, link).

  • Many prominent politicians in the United States have said that they would support the United States striking a free trade deal with the United Kingdom after we Vote Leave, including the former Presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan.

  • Speaker Ryan, the third most powerful politician in America after the President and Vice-President and who is likely to remain in office after the Obama administration is replaced in January next year, has said ‘We will support our relationship with Britain regardless of what they do. England is our greatest ally. We have a special relationship, and you can air quote ‘special relationship’ because it truly is a special relationship. And our relationship with England will be just as strong and deep in ties if they stay or go, whether they leave or stay, regardless (Paul Ryan, 25 April 2016, link).

  • Texas Senator Ted Cruz wrote an article in The Times saying ‘Britain will be at the front of the line for a free trade deal with America, not at the back. There is a vast amount of trade, commerce and investment between our two nations’ (The Times, 27 April 2016, link).

  • Florida Senator Marco Rubio said last year ‘Irrespective of what decision the UK makes… they’ll continue to be certainly our best friend in the world and one of strongest alliances’ (The Times, 18 November 2015, link).

  • Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush has also said ‘of course the US would work with them [Great Britain] on a trade agreement’ (Telegraph, 5 November 2015, link).

Businesses want this situation to change

Businesses want the UK to take back control of trade agreements:

  • Polling by Perspective Research Services in August 2015 found that by 74% to 22%, SMEs want the UK Government, not the European Commission, in charge of negotiating free trade agreements (Business for Britain, September 2015, link).

  • This has been clear for over a decade. In 2004, ICM found that an overwhelming majority of British businesses wanted the UK Government to take back control of trade (ICM, April 2004, link).

The EU has been very bad at negotiating free trade agreements with third countries:

  • In 2015, the aggregate GDP of all the countries with which the EU had a trade agreement in force was $7.7 trillion.

  • By contrast, the aggregate GDP of all the countries with which Chile had free trade agreements was $58.3 trillion. The figure for South Korea was $40.8 trillion and that for Switzerland was $39.8 trillion (Civitas, January 2016, link).

  • The EU has failed to negotiate a free trade agreement with China. By contrast, both Iceland (which has a population of less than half a million) and Switzerland have negotiated free trade agreements with China (Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 15 April 2013, link; Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, 2014, link).

  • The UK also lacks control over many other areas of trade policy, meaning that the UK cannot, for example, avail itself of the right under the World Trade Organization’s rules to apply anti-dumping measures against imports. This power is vested in the European Commission instead (Regulation 2009/1125/EC, link).

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