, 15 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1. Most people don't understand the nature of the border issues created by #Brexit. To understand it you have to understand how we got here in the first place. We didn't suddenly decide one day that we were going to stop doing border checks. Thread.
2. Frictionless borders are a by-product or regulatory union - ie everyone working to the same set of rules. If it can be established that goods are produced and inspected to the same standards then it is assumed those goods can be sold in any country inside the regulatory union.
3. So in fact we didn't do away with border controls, rather we changed the nature of them and moved them away from the borders. We distributed the burden of what would once have been done at the border. We created a regulatory ecosystem that made border checks unnecessary.
4. What the system creates is trust. Through auditing and inspection of the inspection systems in other countries, we were able to create a region where we can make certain assumptions - ie that animal disease controls are adequate and we have traceability in supply chains.
5. There's a lot more to it than that but once we withdraw and declare that we use a wholly different system of regulation and standards, allowing goods in from elsewhere that do not meet EU requirements, the EU can no longer consider us part of the homogenous regulatory region.
6. It can therefore no longer presume UK goods are traceable and of the required standard. There must be proof of conformity and checks at the border to ensure UK exporters are not abusing the system. Without formal agreements, the checks are more invasive and more frequent.
7. It is those checks which take time and time=money. Without a deal UK goods are also subject to tariffs. Our goods therefore will struggle to compete within the European market. Tariffs are not insurmountable but the added delay and red tape is the real killer.
8. This is the system of what are called Official Controls which apply as standard to any third country. No member state has the power to waive those controls unilaterally. Without a formal agreement there is nothing in WTO law that compels the EU to waive the rules.
9. Being that much of our existing trade has evolved over three decades inside of this regulatory environment it has been configured to operate on the assumption of frictionless borders which is what allows for rapid transit of goods.
10. Moreover, the ports themselves have developed their physical assets inside that regulatory framework which also make certain assumptions - ie they have no facilities for checks at Calais and no room for parking etc. WTO Brexit shatters all of the system assumptions.
11. The blunt reality is that if you change the business model overnight with no transition (which categorically there isn't), then supply chains do not have the time to adapt nor do the ports, so the likelihood of normal operations on April 1st are somewhere around nil.
12. With adequate planning and mutual agreement we could have built the necessary facilities and to a point have mitigated the disruption but as a matter of fact we have not. We should, therefore, expect continuity of frictionless trade.
13. But even with maximum preparation and agreed mitigation, we are still in law a third country in the event of no deal with no preferential market participation rights. The EU has to treat us as a new country as though it just appeared one day off the coast of France.
14. The EU has taken basic contingency measures but nothing that could be described as a transition and certainly nothing altruistic. It is acting only in its immediate practical interests.

15. Comments made by the president of the Calais port have been widely misreported, and quite deliberately so by the likes of Guido and BrexitCentral. The truth, though, is that third country controls WILL apply.

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