πŸš¨πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΊπŸš’πŸššπŸ€·β€β™‚οΈπŸ€·β€β™‚οΈπŸš¨NEW: nearly 2/3 customs agents say they don’t have enough staff to handle coming border, per survey of @BIFA members...my latest via @FT and why companies are struggling to prepare. 1/thread
on.ft.com/2ZB9yqJ
@BIFA @FT I'm not going to rehears entire border issues again (see threads passim) but a couple of key takeaways

1) #Covid19 has made it worse

2) companies still need details; Border Operating Model in July has not answered many Qs

(full release @BIFA here)/2

bifa.org/news/articles/…
@BIFA @FT So as Robert Keen @BIFA_DG tells me, in a survey back in May "only" 50% of members said they'd be short of staff - now its 64% - which tallies with members raising concerns on Covid-19 /3
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG Because while it is true that Govt has put Β£50m into increasing numbers/training the reality is that many freight forwarding companies (whose staff will facilitate new border processes) have been furloughing staff dealing with Covid cashflow crunch...not rushing to take on risk/4
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG This is why Richard Burnett @RHARichardB and others have been banging on about government need to intervene more actively in a commercial marketplace that Whitehall (and politicians) are failing to understand the dynamics of (see 4, above) /5
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB The result as @RHARichardB @BIFA_DG and experts like @AnnaJerzewska say is that we're nowhere close to being ready for Jan 1 - deal or no deal.

But it's not just about the 50,000 customs clearance experts that don't yet exist...the chronic lack of info. For EG.../6
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska As @AnnaJerzewska tells me, the government has said that business will be eligible for simplified eligibility requirements for CCG Comprehensive Customs Guarantee (duty deferral) and Entry in Declarant's Records (EIDR) status (for checks at warehouse)...BUT no guidance, as yet /7
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska The result is that business is getting conflicting advice, says @AnnaJerzewska on whether they should hold out for simplified regime, or protect themselves by getting full registrations. The result is stasis/confusion etc. /8
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska FWIW I did ask the Cabinet Office (which runs the Border Delivery Group) for guidance on WHEN these details will be shared with relevant businesses. Back came the reply: "in due course".

Yes, that is the sound of hair follicles being torn from scalps /9
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska This is the problem - it's not just about customs agents or form filling - but about all the actors - hauliers, brokers, relevant government departments, port authorities and traders - working in concert with each other. Which brings us to IT..../10
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska The government has a new Goods Vehicle Management System (GVMS) and the Smart Freight Service app in order for hauliers to check they're good to go and not turn Kent into a lorry park....but it's still not available for users to train on. In fact..../11
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska According to @lisaocarroll scoop this AM on slides shared with Cab Cmme responsible for all this, "beta testing" on Smart Freight won't start "until the end of November". Wow. Let's hope its not integral to the system in any way. /12

theguardian.com/politics/2020/…
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska @lisaocarroll If you want a broader view of the issues - which really centre on trader readiness and their capacity to get ready when they wake up to the scale of change coming, last week's select committee with @AnnaJerzewska @RHARichardB @RobHardyFR8 is here/13

parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/d0…
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska @lisaocarroll @RobHardyFR8 So what is going on? Why is the government so apparently cavalier about industry warnings/frustrations...and the risks of 'no deal', which they just made much higher by putting a gun to EU heads over the Irish Protocol? /14
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska @lisaocarroll @RobHardyFR8 Good Q, to which you hear a variety of answers from Whitehall insiders and industry...

One is that that Frost and co have actually given up on getting a zero tariff/zero quota deal on terms they find acceptable... hence move to re-write NI Protocol /15
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska @lisaocarroll @RobHardyFR8 There is a brute logic to this, since the Protocol as negotiated is incompatible with an ultra-sovereigntist view of Brexit which is the logic for refusing to agree sufficient State Aid/LPF elements to get the zero/zero deal you need to make NI Protocol work /16
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska @lisaocarroll @RobHardyFR8 If that's right - and who knows, but it logical inference of the way that UK Internal Market bill is drafted (see Section 45 totally disapplying the Protocol) - and you know the border is going to be a mess, there is political logic in having "EU intransigence" to blame /17
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska @lisaocarroll @RobHardyFR8 No matter that Article 16 of the Protocol and the Arbitration mechanism in the Withdrawal Agreement gives you plenty of ways to address your concerns...no-one will say it right out, but on one reading, this is now just blame game management /18
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska @lisaocarroll @RobHardyFR8 Or not. Perhaps its an honest calculation that the EU will do a 'zero/zero' deal with no UK State Aid regulator + re-write the NI Protocol in face of UK aggression. That EU leaders' will intervene.

Or perhaps both - i.e. an acceptance UK can live with either outcome? /19
@BIFA @FT @BIFA_DG @RHARichardB @AnnaJerzewska @lisaocarroll @RobHardyFR8 But with friction coming to the border deal or 'no deal' (it'll be worse in a 'no deal' but no-one can say for sure how much worse, so easy to put those fears aside) it seems clear that "chaos in Kent" will not be much of a determining factor. Seat belts please. ENDS

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More from @pmdfoster

18 Sep
So the fury continues about @borisjohnson threat to overwrite #Brexit withdrawal agreement...but the EU hasn't walked....and the shape of a Brexit deal is there to be done. The unanswered Q is whether the UK wants to do it - my latest via @ft 1/

ft.com/content/7eb79c…
@BorisJohnson @FT It might seem like all is lost, but it is notable that @MichelBarnier is still talking - if only to make sure that the EU doesn't get the blame - and waiting and watching to see if UK moves to make a deal...the shape of which seems pretty obvious. It goes like this/2
@BorisJohnson @FT @MichelBarnier The UK does a deal to unlock a 'zero tariff, zero quota' Free Trade Agreement - which of course requires both sides to reach a deal on State Aid and level playing field...but the shape of that deal IS possible. See this @instituteforgov report for ideas/3

instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/…
Read 12 tweets
17 Sep
The frustrations of the logistics industry are starting to boil over - principally because the government and Whitehall are NOT getting the dynamics of the marketplace.

Why, if govt is offering Β£50m quid in grants, everyone's not flocking to open a customs shop?! Well... /1
The problem, industry says, is that the Treasury and @michaelgove really don't understand what is happening on the ground - they really do see this customs business as a wonderful opportunity and can't understand why industry isn't flinging itself at it. /2
@michaelgove You'll recall this much lampooned tweet from @cabinetofficeuk about it's commitment to investing in the red tape sector...so as I was saying, why is industry warning of such a shortage of capacity? Well, having talked to a bunch of operators.../3

Read 20 tweets
17 Sep
Intense clarity of thought, as ever , by @AntonSpisak unpicking the "blockade" issue in @prospect_uk
- one level petulant nonsense (with some fault on both sides) on another a serious indicator of lack of trust 1/thread

prospectmagazine.co.uk/politics/brexi…
@AntonSpisak @prospect_uk On the first "petulance" point, there is some blame on both sides.

The EU has been using 'third country' listing as leverage (some unnecessary gloating behind scenes here) but the talk of a "blockade" is wildly inflammatory spin from the UK side which has safeguards /2
@AntonSpisak @prospect_uk As Spisak points out - and I've been trying to point out - a "blockade" would violate Art 6 of the Protocol that requires "best endeavours" on NI-GB trade, but Art 16 offers even greater safeguards. /3
Read 10 tweets
16 Sep
All this talk of "concessions" and a parliamentary "lock" on the parts of #UKInternalMarketBill overriding the #Brexit withdrawal agreement smack of the Tory Party negotiating with itself.

It's a safety catch for the revolver...handed to a PM with an 80 seat majority! /1
It reminds me of the Chequers deal days when the Tory party congratulated itself for triangulating a position of customs that had no bearing to what EU could accept....this plan as reported by @GeorgeWParker and others feels similar /2

ft.com/content/d9d3ab…
@GeorgeWParker From an EU perspective you have to realise that sections 42 to 45 of the UKIM wholly disapply obligations of the Northern Irish Protocol. It is nuclear. (We are promised same for 'at risk' goods question in autumn Finance Bill). /3
Read 6 tweets
14 Sep
The @BorisJohnson statement on the #UKinternalmarketbill will not reassure anyone in Brussels I suspect - the PM recognises the Arbritration function of WA and the power of Article 16 of the protocol - but STILL wants a comprehensive 'opt out' given under Section 45 of the bill/1 Image
@BorisJohnson So it seems we're still in a position where we're prepared to use the mechanisms available, but only if we have the nuclear option in our back pocket./2

@BorisJohnson If this 'blockade materialised, it is clear that Article 16 is sufficient - indeed it sets the bar only on "diversion of trade"...the entire argument about the need to have a redress mechanism that obviates the mechanisms acknowledged, seems self-evidently confected /3
Read 4 tweets
12 Sep
These are desperate times, but clinging to any strands of hope @BorisJohnson sets up so many outrageous straw men you could - just about - see it as creating the space for a deal 1/

telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/…
@BorisJohnson The hyperbolic "blockade" he mentions is driven the the fact that the Protocol (that he signed, I know) says that IF the two sides can't agree which goods are 'at risk' of going across the border into the Single Market then the default is that all of them are /2
@BorisJohnson This has arguable allowed the EU to be lazy - play hardball - since it can always fall back on the default.

The Internal Market Bill moves to close this avenue off - which in theory could change that negotiating dynamic, but in the process has just blown the negotiations up. /3
Read 15 tweets

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