Chris Morris, BBC News’ Reality Check correspondent, has generously explained what a ‘no deal’ Brexit would look like. On the subject of trade he writes:
With no new trade agreement with the EU, the rules of the World Trade Organisation would apply. Tariffs would be imposed on goods that the UK sends to the EU, and on goods the EU sends to the UK.
It would not be the frictionless trade – certainly to begin with – that the government hopes to promote. Tariffs on many industrial products would be 2-3%, but on cars they would be 10% and on many agricultural products between 20% and 40%.
One would like, in one’s more generous moods, to assume that those whose job is to explain reality would have at least a minimal grasp of that reality which they attempt to explain. In this instance, alas, we cannot.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariff levels are ceilings. That is, they are the maximum tariffs member nations may impose. There is nothing in the WTO rules to prevent Britain imposing a tariff level of nothing at all. The rules prescribe only the level above which we may not go.
The estimable Tim Worstall explained all this a year ago over at CapX. Read, as they say, the whole thing.