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We can add to this the point that our trade with the rest of the European Union is greatly in deficit and has been so for decades. We are net importers of both food and manufactures. On food trade we are badly damaged by being part of Europe because we pay high prices to support farmers across Europe. On manufactured trade the direct foreign investment that comes here to avoid Europe's trade barriers may well improve our net import position. But recent studies show that were we to have a trade war with the rest of Europe we would gain (or at worst not lose) and they would be the ones to lose because we import so much more from them than they do from us.
That leaves monetary and fiscal (tax and spending) policy which is
to be discussed in the special euro meetings of ministers only from
euro countries- a matter Gordon Brown has been much exercised about.
Yet the idea that such meetings are a threat to those outside is paranoiac;
they will be desperately needed for discussion of the pressing issues
we detailed earlier of how to deal with the strains of euro policy.
The members will also need all the help they can get from those outside
including ourselves and the Americans. There are already several forums
for such general interchange in the Group of 7 and other IMF and World
Bank meetings all through the year. The euro countries' struggles to
set their policies jointly will hardly threaten us, but they will certainly
need our help and cooperation, something we will of course freely give.