Solve this and you largely solve Brexit. 1/Thread
Officially UK is NOT joining a customs union....but in the absence of unicorns we clearly are.
Either via the Backstop or when its clear 'other arrangements' dont exist to fix the Irish border /2
May retreated, choosing instead to put an 'all UK customs union' in the June 2018 backstop paper.
David Davis nearly quit, but was bought off with an aspirational time limit that we'd have a unicorn in place by 2021 /4
The answer is to repatriate independent trade policy so we can negotiate trade deal around the world.
But the economic rationale for this is pitifully weak - yet it has become a political talisman for Brexiteers /6
But think about it../10
Those 'other opportunities' are divided across many faraway countries.
As noted above, trade deals won't change that gravitational reality. /13
The issue is the services-orientated nature of our economy - which makes it hard to export to emerging marketst. /15
The UK has a new 'export promotion strategy' pretty much annually, to moderate effect.
The problem is not the EU. Leaving the customs union will not make Britain Great Again /16
Indeed, in a round about fashion, that is what is happening now. /18
When it's done, and trade talks begin, that question will still be there: does the UK want to stay in a (better than Turkey's) customs union with the EU?
If the answer is 'no', we're still stuck.