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Ben Habib, former Brexit Party MEP for London, has urged the UK to distance itself from a trade deal with the EU, after highlighting Britain’s trade deficit with the bloc has grown, while exports to the continent have fallen. Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has demanded the UK maintain a close alignment to the single market and customs union by agreeing to a level-playing field on trade – meaning Britain would be bound by EU competition rules.
However, Mr Habib has insisted Britain should “deviate from the EU, not align with it”.
The 55-year-old explained since the euro was established in 1999, the UK’s trade deficit with the EU has grown from £13billion to £72bn in 2019.
He added exports to the EU have dropped from 55 percent to just over 40 percent.
While trade with the rest of the world has consistently grown – with a surplus of £46bn recorded last year.
Mr Habib highlighted the growing influence of Germany and claimed the EU’s biggest economy has used the single market as a dumping ground – a mechanism of selling exports below market value.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Habib said: “Deficits in trade are bad for a country’s manufacturers, its balance of payments, its currency and its national wealth.
“Our trade relationship with the EU is therefore bad for the UK.
“Our EU trade problem is not, as those who perpetrated Project Fear would have us believe, a function of inherent problems within the UK.
“It has largely been a function of the dumping of goods by Germany.”
Jake Pugh, former Brexit Party MEP for Yorkshire and Humber, agreed and said Mr Habid “explodes the myth” of the Single Market (SM) and reiterated calls to reject the level-playing field (LPF) proposal.
In a post on Twitter, Mr Pugh wrote: “Ben Habib explodes the myth that membership of SM is good for the UK economy.
“And of course dumping by GER occurs within the SM too. Just look at youth unemployment in southern EU states. A tragedy.
“This is why LPF is a deception and must be rejected by the UK. Divergence is a must.”
A trade deal between the UK and the European Union remains unlikely before the October deadline set by both sides, after the latest round of negotiations between UK and EU broke down last week.
Mr Habib has also insisted the UK has been blindsided by a trade deal since the historic referendum in 2016.
He said: “Our Government has mistakenly pursued the EU for such a deal and led the country through a merry dance of national humiliation.”
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Following the talks in Brussels, Mr Barnier firmly put the blame towards the UK and said he had seen “no progress whatsoever” on fishing, and reiterated his commitment to a level-playing field.
UK chief Brexit negotiator David Frost said he believes a trade deal is still possible but acknowledged “there has been little progress”.
Mr Frost said the EU’s insistence on accepting its terms on state aid and fishing had made an agreement “unnecessarily difficult”.
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