I missed this last week…Every little helps, so thanks again America
**Staying in EU ‘best hope’ for UK’s future say ex-US Treasury secretaries
Leaving the European Union would be a “risky bet” for the UK, eight former US Treasury secretaries have said.
The advisors, who served both Republican and Democratic presidents, say it could threaten London’s pre-eminence as a financial capital.**
In a Times article ahead of President Obama’s UK visit, they say it would be “difficult” to negotiate trade deals.
**But Leave campaigners accused the men of double standards and “belittling Britain’s place in the world”.
“Not content with doing down Britain’s economy, No 10 are now soliciting help from across the pond,” a Vote Leave spokesman said.**
**Who has signed the letter?
George Shultz, who served in the Nixon administration
Michael Blumenthal, who served under President Carter
Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton’s former Treasury Secretary
Lawrence Summers, who also served in the Clinton administration
Paul O’Neill, who served in the first administration of George W. Bush
John Snow, also formerly of the Bush administration
Henry Paulson, Jr. of George W. Bush’s administration
Timothy Geithner, Treasury Secretary under President Obama**
But in their letter, the eight former bankers, economists and diplomats - who include George Schultz, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner - warn that this would not be straightforward and trade flows would be affected if the UK left the EU.
“Over time, Britain would no doubt be able to re-establish trade ties through negotiation of new trade agreements,” they write.
“**But as our own experience in the United States with trade negotiations shows, it is a difficult environment to negotiate and approve agreements and the risk of accidents is real.”
The eight, who served presidents ranging from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton, say that it is the UK’s decision alone where its future lay but that the US has a “critical interest” in the outcome.**
Shared economic views and interests had been at the heart of the special relationship between the two countries, they argue, while in recent times the UK had taken the lead in Europe in rescuing the banking industry and confronting Russian aggression.
Setting out the direct economic risks to the UK of a Leave vote, they said foreign banks and other multinational institutions may no longer automatically see the UK as a “financial springboard” into Europe.
They conclude by urging the UK not to “turn inward” at a critical juncture for the European and global economies, warning that to do so could open up a “Pandora’s Box” of problems for the continent.
Although current US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has not signed the letter, he voiced his support for the UK to retain a strong voice in Europe at last week’s meeting of G20 finance ministers in Washington.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Summers said the rest of the world would see Britain as less relevant and less significant when it was on its own.
But former UK defence secretary Liam Fox told the programme leaving the EU would not mean mean isolation but Britain setting itself free from a “sclerotic and inward looking Europe”.
US politicians had failed to take account of the decline and failure of the EU economy, he said.