NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Brexit and American Opportunities

August 15, 2016

Research Associate Luke Twombly writes in NCPA's National Security Blog:

Some believed the British exit from the European Union to be a calamitous economic event. However, the referendum actually provided the United States with several opportunities to improve its economy and security.

The United States remains the EU's largest trading partner, despite the crippling taxes and suffocating regulations the organization imposes on those U.S. trade agreements with member states. The EU requires standardized agreements between the United States and each individual member, rather than allowing the parties involved to settle on arrangements that meet their particular needs. Separately, the EU levies a 2 percent tariff on all American goods. A similar tariff will hit the United Kingdom in the coming months, meaning that the 44 percent of British exports sent to EU countries in 2016 will be hit with a tariff in 2017.  This tariff will likely drive many British goods to new markets as they are priced out of continental Europe. America could be an option.

In any case, the Brexit means the United States and Britain can move away from the financial impositions of the EU and develop a trade agreement that meets the specific needs of both countries. An important relationship indeed since Britain accounted for 18 percent of the EU economy, and 17 percent of its exports went to the United States in 2015. With Britain now free from the economic shackles of Brussels, the United States could negotiate a trade deal with fewer economic barriers.

Security remains the other benefit of the Brexit. The EU represents 28 nations and dozens of security agencies, which unfortunately retards the ability to share information quickly and inhibits a coordinated response to conflict. Working directly with Britain would allow the United States to develop an improved security network through the cultivation of state-to-state relationships.

Britain's armed forces would also no longer be subject to the proposed EU draft ‒‒ an idea now openly discussed by the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and other Brussels elites who prefer a centralized European military authority. This armed force would be, among other things, an expensive redundancy to NATO.

Finally, the Brexit allows the United States and Britain to collaborate in areas of terrorism that might otherwise be impeded by EU legal system. For instance, Muslim fundamentalists have historically benefited from lenient EU courts. Knowing this, several leading Wahhabi Imams, such as Anjem Choudary of London, advocated for the U.K. to remain in the EU because "certain principles and caveats" essentially prevented the prosecution of Islamists. According to British media outlets, almost 33 percent of all the cases the U.K. loses at the European Court of Human Rights are lost to extremists and other violent criminals. In some instances, Al Qaeda affiliates originally found guilty in British courts were freed after EU courts overturned the rulings.

The United States would certainly see benefits to a more autonomous Britain in both security and economy, and should take full advantage.


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