David Clayton, David Higgins, 23 September 2020

After Brexit, the UK government will enjoy greater freedom to encourage domestic consumers to “Buy British”. But as this column explains, attempts by successive UK governments in the 1970s and early 1980s to initiate such import substitution policies were fraught with economic and legal difficulties. Indeed, accelerating globalisation and the rapid growth of imports in intermediate products for assembly into ‘British’ goods raise significant problems in defining a ‘national’ product – and the growth of tradable services (such as insurance, education and healthcare) presents an even more intractable problem.

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