A VERY senior US official, Michael Froman, has warned Britain against leaving the 28-nation European Union saying such a move would cost London economically.
Froman is no blagger. He is the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and is President Obama’s principal advisor, negotiator and spokesperson on international trade and investment issues. Froman leads the Office of the United States Trade Representative in its work to open global markets for US goods and services, enforce America’s rights in the global trading system, and foster its development through trade.
Key initiatives ongoing under his leadership are negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in the Asia Pacific; the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union; negotiation of agreements on services, information technology and trade facilitation at the World Trade Organisation; and monitoring and enforcement US trade rights, including through the Interagency Trade and Enforcement Center (ITEC).
Froman clearly is on the front line of those fighting for the economic and political interests of US imperialism. He said yesterday that the UK, in the event of a British exit from the EU, would face trade barriers with America just like China, Brazil and India. He stressed that Washington would not seek a separate free trade agreement (FTA) with Britain.
His comments amount to a threat to do serious damage to the people of the UK should they vote ‘NO’. What Froman is making clear is that the UK only has value for the US as its ‘man’ inside the European Union. The message is that the US is Britain’s biggest export market after the EU. In 2014, $54bn worth of goods entered the American market and, as Froman made clear, a vote to quit the EU could see the UK kept out of this market.
As well, the US has just signed a trade deal with 11 Pacific nations and wants to wrap up negotiations with the EU on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Froman points out that, in the event of the UK opting to quit the EU, it will not be part of TTIP, hence, British car exporters to the US would face tariffs and would be at a disadvantage to international competitors.
For British capitalists there is a lot to lose. British voters are due to decide by the end of 2017 whether the UK should remain in the EU. The British government’s stance on the issue has already put Cameron at odds with many European leaders. The EU has expressed its readiness for talks with Cameron but the 28-member bloc stressed that its red lines on four key principles such as people’s freedom of movement are ‘non-negotiable’, as is the movement towards a single EU state run by an unelected EU Commission representing the interests of the big bosses and bankers.
The truth is that there is no future for British capitalism either in or out of the EU since its banks and businesses are in a desperate crisis. The attraction of the EU for the bosses is that the EU parliament is just a front for the unelected European Commission which runs the EU in the interests of the bosses and the bankers, and as in the case of Greece, has demonstrated its ability to mercilessly crush workers who do not want to carry out what the bankers want.
For the UK working class, handing themselves over to the bosses and bankers of Europe, as Greece shows, is no solution. Neither is going it alone under the Union Jack in a desperate attempt to relive an era that has gone forever. There is only one solution for the working class of the UK. This is to vote ‘NO’ in the referendum and mobilise for a socialist revolution to establish a UK workers’ republic.
This will act as a beacon to the workers of Europe and create the condition for the working class of Europe to bring down the EU and advance instead to the Socialist United States of Europe. This will expropriate the bosses and bankers and organise a planned socialist economy throughout Europe to satisfy the requirements of all European workers.