Britain would be hit with an extra £9 billion in trading costs if voters back Brexit in June’s referendum, the head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has warned.
Roberto Azevedo said Brexit would leave ministers with the unprecedented task of having to strike new trade deals with 161 countries, warning that Britain would not be allowed to simply ‘cut and paste’ existing EU terms.
Thousands of new deals would have to be agreed on tariff and quota levels on agricultural produce, for example, while officials would also have to negotiate new terms for access to international markets currently enjoyed by British banks and the UK’s booming service industry.
‘Pretty much all of the UK’s trade [with the world] would somehow have to be negotiated,’ Mr Azevedo told the Financial Times.
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