, 9 tweets, 3 min read
Lots of interesting threads tonight (see @tconnellyRTE @JenniferMerode). They raise a number of valid questions from the EU about a hybrid customs scheme for NI. Here is a thread on how I would answer those concerns if I were still in the negotiations/advising the PM.../1
The system is complex but not insurmountably so. One concern raised is about goods that enter a supply chain. One way to deal with this would be to allow the ability to secure the rebate to be passed along the supply chain & only claimed at the final point of sale /2
Another concern is that the plans could not be in place by end of the transition period. Well, that may be true, but I cannot see how even plans set out in current backstop could be in place by end of the transition period (would have been time when deal was originally agreed) /3
This is even true of an NI only backstop. Putting in place the mechanisms for regulatory checks on the market & all the infrastructure for checks at the GB/NI border would take time as they do not exist now. I cannot see how it would be done by December 2020 /4
Ensuring goods for NI don't leak into EU is valid concern. But concerns on agrifood & industrial goods regulation exist in current WA or even NI only. Examples such as sugar, steel & chlorinated chicken aren't good ones. In any version of backstop, are policed on the market /5
Only new risk is fiscal arising from tariffs & rules of origin. A few ways to deal with this. One is set out above, passing rebate along the supply chain. Another would be to use trusted trader & AEOs to ensure right tariff is paid on entry (unlikely they would break the law) /6
A further still would be for NI Protocol to include zero (not no!) tariffs on UK-EU trade. Should also not forget Commission's own plans for 'de-dramatising' backstop which examined using transit procedures to ensure checks didn't happen at the border /7 europa.eu/rapid/press-re…
I will not pretend that there isn't a risk of fraud & smuggling because that risk is present in NI under any approach. But it is a far narrower risk than when the proposal was made on UK wide basis & only new element is fiscal, regulatory risks already been deemed acceptable /8
All this said, as I set out in my proposal, time is short & this has all come too late, so I share the concerns on this front. But we should distinguish between time problems & true practical problems. I believe there are answers to the questions Commission is raising /9 ENDS
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