Ten days in and it seems the government's post-Brexit economic policy is to ignore reality, priority and choice, and just claim with no evidence that everything is going to be great. This, needless to say, is dangerous territory. Exhibit 1... 1/ ft.com/content/cdaf23…
Here's a good example of what is currently passing for UK economic policy. The theory the UK can be 'nimble' in regulations has been present since 2016. In 5 years nobody has found the detail. We presume others might have a similar idea. And trade needs regulations to align 2/
There will of course always be someone to blame. Usually the EU. Because they do indeed want to compete with the UK. This is not exactly surprising. A vague UK idea versus the bigger next door market (or indeed a big one over the pond). Who's going to win? 3/
Next, 'Global Britain' and specifically the Liz Truss speech in the Commons yesterday. To summarise, we are going to do trade deals on everything with everyone while still protecting UK industry and poor countries. Yup, more warm words and no priorities. 4/gov.uk/government/spe…
Useful example here. The long running EU-US trade battle over food, one claiming to be about quality, the other science. The UK solution. We'll do both! Fabulous, why did nobody think of this before? Unless they did, and found they still had to choose. Note other warm words 5/
Now about those trade deals. There is a deal we need now with the US to remove punitive tariffs on Scotch that is costing the UK economy millions of pounds. It was supposed to be close before Christmas. Any word of that in the speech? No. 6/ bbc.co.uk/news/business-…
No US deal yet, instead we have the usual warm words about being deep in talks, and the CPTPP. But for what? If we get deals with Australia and NZ we'll have deals with 10 of 12 CPTPP countries. How will joining then help goods trade? And why goods, not services? 7/
Just to prove this speech about global Britain really is motherhood, apple pie, and virtually nothing of any substance, in fact every country is a priority. We love you all. All can benefit from trading with us. Except perhaps our neighbours, who get virtually no mentions. 8/
There was also no mention yesterday for this kind of UK trade, the type that damages other countries. Limitations of space I guess. But does somewhat take the gloss off the wonderful trading opportunities we present. 9/ theguardian.com/environment/20…
Back though to the Chancellor to finish this roundup of the UK's economy, and let's look at Northern Ireland. Not everyone's favourite here, Sammy Wilson, raised with him yesterday problems of GB-NI trade. Brushed off with scarcely an answer. 10/
Now that's all good knockabout stuff, but the key point is a government that simply can't accept in public or possibly in private that it can't have everything on trade / the economy. We've seen it on Northern Ireland. We're now seeing it on EU trade. 11/ cityam.com/northern-irela…
So a multinational business wants to invest in the UK. They get a meeting with the Chancellor. He doubtless assures them everything will be great, regulations, trade, whatever. Do they believe him? Would you?

Right now they don't. Big talk, little reality. Tough world. 12/ end
PS sorry, it is 11 CPTPP members right now. We'll have bilateral deals with all except Brunei and Malaysia. 12 was TPP, with the US. Not sure why I suddenly regressed to 2015.

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More from @DavidHenigUK

13 Jan
I wanted to do other things over Christmas as well than read a treaty. But I figured that with 50% of the country's trade covered it was important. It seems very much in line with the passive approach of the UK government to EU trade that Ministers didn't do likewise.
Another example of the lax attention to detail / negligence of our government with regard to a trade relationship worth £670 billion per annum.
Sheez. Any comment from the government or opposition on this by any chance?
Read 7 tweets
13 Jan
What to say to those who ignored the warnings? Whether working in fish or concerned about Northern Ireland, or others yet to come? And still believed the fantasies even after Johnson folded first time. Some still believe them even after a second fold.
On Brexit we either seek to understand what happened or resentments will mount. It wasn't the vote, though many are still arguing about that. It was the assumption thereafter that we could have what we wanted. Never true. So what happens next?
I fear what happens next with UK-EU trade (and global Britain) is we continue as before to claim we can have it all, and it is too inconvenient for either major party for that narrative to be challenged. Scotland and Northern Ireland have a different debate. But I hope not.
Read 4 tweets
12 Jan
This is happening, so what discussion in Parliament? I have to think this is where the scrutiny function simply doesn't work - UK-EU trade is being subject to what at least two of my eminent trade twitter colleagues have called 'shock therapy' and... nothing?
More on fish - this time with regard to the agreements not in place with Norway, Faroes, Greenland. More boats not at sea. And remember, this was supposed to be the UK priority in talks. bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan…
Those in Parliament who studied in detail every piece of EU legislation for any potential threat to the UK now seem uninterested in things that are affecting UK trade today. I'm sure officials are doing their best. But we needs MPs speaking up. And a Minister in charge.
Read 6 tweets
12 Jan
Seeing quite a few suggestions that the specialist committees established under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement will be used to negotiate changes. That isn't their primary function, which is to ensure the agreement operates smoothly. They probably only meet annually.
Anything beyond minor tweaks to the UK-EU agreement will have to be negotiated at political level, with the Commission receiving a mandate. And if it is a UK request for greater market access, an equal willingness to offer something in return.
Ideally the UK will have a dedicated EU trade team and minister which should be keeping on top of how the agreement is running, problems, potential future asks etc. There should probably also be a dedicated Parliamentary committee or enquiry. Plus build relations with EU members.
Read 4 tweets
11 Jan
One thing new here I think - a new unilateral preferences scheme later in the year claimed to give developing countries better access to the UK market.

Unfortunately rather lost amongst among excitable but often meaningless or misleading platitude.
For example "We will champion high environmental and animal welfare standards in a science-led approach…" is a meaningless mash-up of trade words. Kind of curious about bringing together countries for some very worthy activities. How?
And above all that tricky one that no Minister is going to admit but is going to undermine their argument. If free trade brings opportunity and jobs, then the UK in significantly raising trade barriers must be reducing both. Awkward.
Read 4 tweets
11 Jan
Today, in "predicted consequences of Brexit turn out to be right", our first entry is some shortages of fresh fruit and veg... dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9…
Our second entry in "predicted consequences of Brexit turn out to be right" is potential losses of financial services both to the EU and US. This article usefully also pointing out the City will have to change / evolve / innovate.

So far the impacts of Brexit have been entirely predictable to anyone with a good understanding of economics and trade who isn't also blinded by visceral anti-EU hostility. As per previously, how the UK economy adapts to trade barriers is key, not denying their existence.
Read 10 tweets

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