Les coûts commerciaux d’une sortie de l’UE

BRUXELLES – Selon les « Brexiters » – partisans d’une sortie du Royaume-Uni hors de l’Union européenne – une telle issue n’est vouée à engendrer aucun coût, et à ne générer aucun impact sur les échanges commerciaux menés par le pays à travers le monde. Ils ont absolument tort. Le 23 juin, lorsque les électeurs britanniques choisiront leur bulletin dans le cadre du référendum relatif au Brexit, ils feraient bien de réfléchir à ce qu’implique concrètement une sortie de l’UE – et à la possibilité ou non de conserver à l’issue d’un éventuel Brexit les avantages dont ils bénéficient en termes de libre-échange (et qu’ils considèrent comme acquis).

Commençons par les fondamentaux. Une sortie de l’UE signifierait pour le Royaume-Uni quitter l’Union douanière de l’UE, qui sous-tend le libre-échange à travers les frontières des 28 États membres de l’UE (et qui fixe un tarif extérieur commun vis-à-vis des pays tiers). Cela signifierait également quitter le marché unique – qui constitue la base de la libre circulation des biens et des services entre les différents membres de l’UE – puisque les pays non membres de l’UE ne peuvent par définition appartenir au marché unique.

Qu’adviendrait-il par la suite ? Au cours d’une période de deux ans antérieure à l’entrée en vigueur de cette sortie du Royaume-Uni, des négociations auraient lieu entre le pays et l’UE autour de nombreuses questions – souveraineté, ordre légal, immigration, finances et autres considérations économiques. L’objectif crucial du Royaume-Uni consisterait alors certainement à négocier une relation commerciale aussi proche que possible de cette relation de libre-échange qui existe à l’heure actuelle.

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