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Pete North @PeteNorth303
, 25 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
1. To address a point that remainers are having fun with... the assertion that Argentina will use our #Brexit circumstances at the WTO to enhance its stake on the Falklands... is totally baloney. You know this of course, but there's a few points worth making. #Trade thread!
2. These such signals are as much for domestic consumption as anything else. This isn't the first and won't be the last. We will see a number of attempts to frustrate the UK's separation process in the hope that it will leverage concessions from the UK.
3. Some FT hack has probably already penned a poison article on how the UK will be forced to cave in because we are so weakened and feeble without the EU. As a point of fact the UK is not obliged to concede on any point at any time so long as it pays due regard to consequences.
4. Those who are seeking to extract concessions will actually find themselves shunted to the back of the queue and their attitude very much noted for future reference. Even with a worst case Brexit scenario we remain a mid tier power.
5. Similarly with any US deal, there will be certain demands we are not obliged to concede to and in the face of public opinion probably won't which means any US deal will be far more shallow than some anticipate. Thus much of what is said about any such deal is pure histrionics.
6. There are a lot of lofty aspirations coming from ministers and Brexiters right now and these won't actually be dampened until we get as far as scoping talks - after which the dafter misapprehensions will melt away. They must also keep in mind that parliament will have a role.
7. We are also told that we have to renegotiate some 700 deals and as yet have secured none. This is not strictly the case. The EU is assisting in securing rollovers for at least the duration of the transition by exchange of letters. Some will continue beyond, some will not.
8. But then this is a chance to aks whether we want to simply clone EU agreements and whether FTAs are actually worth having when there are 11 different types of regulatory cooperation deals and key MoUs for inter-agency cooperation that can be worth more.
9. The media tends to focus on FTAs because that is all they know and it;s all they understand and consequently that is all trade wonks really talk about. that and the goldfish bowl that is the WTO, completely ignoring the wider scope of trade and the instruments at our disposal.
10. One thing the media loves to do is churn over a tiny tiny bandwidth of issues such as FTAs, steel tariffs, fluoridated owls and steroid laced goats - totemic of important differences in regulatory approaches, but not so much that anyone is going to notice or care.
11. People say they care and are only too happy to pile in on the histrionics largely because it is agenda driven but anyone who writes about the mechanics of these systems can tell from their hits that there is little genuine interest in how it all works.
12. We have yet to see a broader public debate about the role of global standards and regulatory diplomacy, much of which happens in anonymous organisations and decentralised hierarchies under various treaty mechanisms. Again participation here can be worth more than FTAs.
13. Then there is a strong chance that we can negotiate our own transatlantic air routes which could break open competition - where the UK is well placed. Sector specific agreements not necessarily viewed as trade are an essential part of bilateral commercial relations.
14. Then we've seen academic whinging that universities are to be used as a bartering chip in trade. Well they would whinge wouldn't they? But if you have those assets (and we do) then they are fair game in pursuing the national interest.
15. On a lower level the UK government can be facilitating consortia to gain access to digital markets. A lot will depend on the UKs domestic promotion of its own trade initiatives and getting backing from UK industry - SMEs especially.
16. Much of the trade debate consists of know it all Times and FT hacks who spew out hackneyed generalities but have never gone through the thought exercise of how we would approach a trade policy if FTAs didn't exist. That would require thinking and research.
17. And then we have to ask if FTAs are the right model for the UK and whether we can afford to spend years on "bumper deals" when we could re-start partial scope agreements and expand them beyond the bilateral. There are WTO workarounds to allow it.
18. We should be looking at all the means that allow us for a faster turnaround and ignoring the hardpoints. A trade Blitzkreig if you will. Go around the Maginot line! Come back to the bigger deals when we are in a better shape and a developed institutional knowledge.
19. There are going to be plenty of stumbling blocks along the way that miserablists will use as evidence that the UK cannot make the grade as an independent state but this is neither constructive or accurate. There will be a lot of try on artists. Best ignored.
20. You should also take self-professed trade "experts" with a pinch of salt because there;s no such thing. It;s too wide in scope for any one person to know how it all works. There are specialists who such at the general and generalists of varying quality.
21. Many of these experts will think only in terms of their narrow specialisms and will emphasise their own hobby horses. They tend to ignore the broader philosophical and cultural factors that should not be divorced from trade considerations.
22. Obviously UK trade strategy will be more crisis management and disaster recovery if we leave without a deal - and partnership agreements cost money and time to get running. The job is made harder if we are without an EU deal and with less of an operating budget.
23. If, however, we are able to secure a deal with the EU, preferably something approaching the EEA, then there is absolutely no reason why the UK cannot operate an agile independent trade policy and in some instances enhance our trade relations. It's not all about market size.
24. Cultural links still have relevance but then there is also first mover advantage which is not something the EU often manages being pegged to the slowest ship in the convoy. We also have considerable technical expertise - much of which we are taking back from the EU.
25. The short of it is that even after we have left the EU there will be a sustained media agenda to demoralise and denigrate the UK. Guardian/FT/Times will get in on the act. Much of it is churlish and written in spite. They will readily report failures, but ignore the successes
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