It’s clear the UK’s Brexit trade deals are about political – not economic – gain

MPs on the Public Accounts Committee have released a scathing report into the benefits – or not – of such deals, writes Jon Stone

<p>Are getting Brexit trade deals done to the benefit of the nation?</p>

Are getting Brexit trade deals done to the benefit of the nation?

Parliament’s influential – and cross-party – Public Accounts Committee has warned that the government’s Brexit free trade agreements may not have any “actual” economic benefit. The MPs on the committee also say the Department for International Trade has been too secretive, and not kept parliament properly informed about what it is doing.

This is not a particularly new revelation: The Independent reported last year that the economic boost from all of the agreements signed so far is dwarfed 178 times over by the expected hit from leaving the EU single market. And we have reported at length about MPs’ concerns about a lack of scrutiny in negotiations.

But it is positive to see the limited benefits of free trade agreements (FTAs) getting more airtime in Westminster. Taking a step back, there has never been a particularly strong argument for going out of our way to sign more FTAs, especially given the costs involved.

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