Leaving the EU on WTO terms and the Effect on the Welsh Economy | April 2019

I have received a substantial number of emails regarding the UK leaving the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms, and the effect on the Welsh economy.
The United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on WTO terms would present a fantastic opportunity for the Welsh economy. It must be stressed that the pessimistic view of the Welsh economy being fragile and highly dependent on the European Union is not an accurate reflection of the current state of affairs. Instead, the Welsh economy has continued to grow following the 2016 referendum result, despite the hyperbolic warnings that were issued by remain supporters during the referendum.
In 2016, Cardiff was the fastest growing capital city in the UK and it is clear that international investors continue to see Wales as an attractive place to invest. Figures produced in 2018 by the Department for international Trade revealed that international investment in Wales led to the creation of more than 3,000 jobs from 2017 to 2018; over 500 more than the previous year. Equally, HMRC figures in September 2018 showed a 4.2% increase in Welsh exports to £16.6 billion, compared to the previous quarter, as Welsh businesses discover new export opportunities outside the EU. I would also note that from 2013 to 2018 almost 70% of the investment for projects in Wales came from outside the European Union, further highlighting the fact that Wales remains very attractive to global investors, even after the result of the referendum had been delivered.
Instead, such figures reveal how, following our departure from the European Union, Wales has the potential to be a real hub of free trade and prosperity. The departure of the UK from the European Union will also ensure that the UK economy will no longer be exposed to the economic risks that come with continuing to be a member of the European Union; such as the obligation to follow poorly drafted business regulations, spiraling budget contributions, and exposure to the unstable single currency and the euro-zone. Instead, a WTO Brexit will lead to greater engagement by Welsh business with the global economy, which would hugely benefit the Welsh export sector.
I continue to support leaving the EU on WTO terms, as no other option would truly deliver the result of the referendum. While I acknowledge that departing the EU on WTO terms may, arguably, cause some temporary disruption, I find it impossible to believe that UK, and Wales, would be incapable of overcoming these temporary problems. I believe that the Welsh economy would truly thrive by opening up its markets to economies and investors from around the world.
April 2019

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