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Britain’s Losing Trade Strategy

With the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union fast approaching, the British government has now launched its plan to turn the country into an "exporting superpower" in the years ahead. The problem is that much of what it needs to achieve that goal will have been destroyed by Brexit.

LONDON – The British government has now launched its plan to turn the United Kingdom into an “exporting superpower.” It is an ambitious, if not entirely fanciful, goal.

Given the escalating trade war between the United States and China, countries around the world are rushing to consolidate their trade relations and preserve existing supply chains. Not so the UK, which is now in the final stages of negotiations to withdraw from the European Union – a move that will upend its relationship with its single largest trade partner. The country will soon become not just a lesser exporter, but also a lesser power.

A first “must” for an exporting superpower is to establish clear and stable trade arrangements with other countries, so that firms can produce goods and services collaboratively across borders. That is what China is doing with its extraordinary investments in infrastructure and by forging new cross-border ties across Eurasia and beyond. And it is what European countries did by creating and expanding the single market over the course of many decades.

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