Tariffs and barriers: trade between Britain and the EU
8th Aug 2016
"There are no barriers, no tariffs, it's all really straightforward... [If we leave the EU] There is no guarantee about what kind of standards there would be, what kind of tariffs."
Lucy Thomas, Business for New Europe, Today Programme, 17 June 2015
"All the trade would continue and the trade is not dependent on there being a free trade agreement in any case"
William Dartmouth, UKIP MEP, Today Programme, 17 June 2015
Putting a Eurosceptic MEP and a Europhile campaigner on the air together before 7am is practically a recipe for contentious, contrasting statements; the perfect factchecker's breakfast.
There are barriers to trade in the EU
The statement that there are no barriers to trade with EU countries isn't entirely accurate.
Under World Trade Organisation rules the EU won't be allowed to punish the UK for leaving
We don't yet know what the post-membership relationship with the EU would look like. But we do know some things already.
If the UK and the EU can't agree on a specific trade agreement, then trade would take place under World Trade Organisation rules.
Trade with Europe could be lower if we left
The bold claim that "all the trade would continue" with the EU is speculative. The only way to know for sure is to leave.
There are good reasons to doubt that things will be as simple as everything continuing as it is. While you don't need to have a free trade agreement to trade with a country (or indeed a bloc of countries), it certainly helps.
There are a number of reasons why trade with the EU might become more costly after Britain leaves. Even if Britain negotiates an agreement without tariffs, increasing differences in regulations or tighter integration within the EU could see a fall in trade relative to staying in.