Want to understand better why Johnson’s “amazing deal” hasn’t stopped systematic problems in EU-UK trade - and why these aren't just teething issues, but permanent structural problems?

Here are some key points - crucial context to help explain why EU-UK deal is so limited:
1) Trade in goods is much easier to facilitate than trade in services. EU-UK deal concentrates largely on goods, has much less to say on services – even though latter make up vast bulk of UK economy - and is especially poor where goods and services need to combine together.
2) As regards goods, to trade lawfully in the EU, any third country supplier needs to cross 2 main hurdles: their goods must enter into "free circulation"; and their goods must undergo "lawful marketing". If both hurdles are crossed, goods are treated (almost) like EU own-goods.
3) "Free circulation" = goods comply with all relevant customs restrictions, checks & formalities; + pay all appropriate customs tariffs & border fees. Even if an agreement reduces / eliminates tariffs on Good X, we still need to know Good X rightly qualifies for that benefit.
4) EU-UK deal concentrates on eliminating tariffs for qualifying goods + reducing some of burden of complying with customs checks / formalities. But it does not change fundamental nature of cross-border trade controls. Not by EU. And once temporary reprieve expires, not by UK.
5) "Lawful marketing" = goods comply with all applicable regulatory standards of national market on which they will first be placed. Includes EU rules where they exist, eg toy safety. And / or domestic rules of relevant Member State, which might well differ from elsewhere in EU.
6) However, once 3rd country goods are lawfully marked in one MS, they can then be sold across rest of EU in accordance with ordinary Single Market rules, eg presumption of right to free movement / mutual recognition in all other MSs (even if latter's local rules are different).
7) Though 3rd country goods are still not *fully* the same as EU own-goods: remain subject to certain restrictions, eg if goods require ongoing market surveillance and relevant third country authorities are not part of EU cooperation network set up to assist in protecting public
8) Coming back to EU-UK deal: latter has little to offer when it comes to requirement of "lawful marketing". HMG's point blank refusal to consider regulatory alignment with EU means there are few "special benefits" for UK goods when it comes to lawful sale within EU markets.
9) Moreover, non-tariff barriers related to "lawful marketing" are potentially far more damaging to cross-border trade than those concerning “free circulation”. Multiple production lines, increased costs, reduced competitiveness, market segmentation etc. So: wait til they kick in
10) So what about services - why more tricky? Tariffs/customs checks don’t really apply to services as such. But non-tariff barriers are often much more complex & onerous. Plus: even if you meet requirements in one MS, that doesn’t give you onward movement rights in other MSs.
11) So: UK service provider might now have to comply with 27 different sets of EU + national regulatory regimes in order to do business across EU. Not just 1, which is whole point of mutual recognition/passporting rights within Single Market, as applied also to UK pre-Brexit...
12) In addition: provision of services is often bound up with movement of goods (equipment, spare parts etc) and movement of people (visas, work permits etc). A process which is accelerating in modern economies, especially through influence of digital: we call it “servitisation”
13) Put all that together= major reason why Johnson’s deal is so paltry: for many service sectors, there is very little to facilitate cross-border activities at all; combined with limited rules on goods (above) & almost nothing on movement of persons (Brexit bigots in full swing)
14) Which explains, e.g. why musicians and production industry are so badly battered by Johnson’s deal: not only suffer market segmentation as regards their services per se; but also problems with moving equipment as "goods" + immigration restrictions on movement of personnel...
15) Tories claim: all just glitches, teething problems, will sort itself out. Some issues are. But most important ones aren’t: they are permanent feature of future EU-UK trade that businesses simply have to adapt to. And inevitably: to suffer from. In some cases: be destroyed by.

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More from @mdouganlpool

5 Feb
Lots of questions: what would I do about Northern Ireland and the “Protocol crisis”? Happy to offer a few thoughts as follows:
1) Let's set aside longer term solutions (UK rejoins EU, Irish reunification) & unacceptable outcome (hard border). Only option left= make Protocol work. Above all, that requires trust. Which requires honesty. Which has been sorely lacking from Tories/DUP. But honesty about what?
2) Honesty about fact that NI’s problems are directly determined by choices about overall EU-UK relationship. UK closer to EU = problems diminish. UK further from EU = problems amplify. Johnson chose a very Hard Brexit. So problems facing NI were inevitably going to be serious.
Read 13 tweets
4 Feb
Gove's letter to Commission about NI Protocol is deeply insulting - worthy successor to Trump's truth-twisting method of treating international diplomacy with same contempt & dishonesty as domestic politics. But cut through the propaganda & what do we learn? Voila, short thread:
1) Brexit was always going to cause serious problems for NI - as UK parliamentary committees and myriad experts predicted. But Tories and DUP simply lied their way through the entire withdrawal process / negotiations - claiming those problems didn't exist / had easy solutions.
2) When reality finally hit home, ie Tory Hard Brexit threatened hard border & therefore GFA, May sought to minimise the damage. But ERG, DUP et al did everything they could to destroy her solution. Then PM Johnson stabbed DUP in back by imposing alternative: the current Protocol
Read 15 tweets
8 Jan
Lots of questions about impact of Brexit on NI & prospects for reunification with Ireland... A political question beyond my specific scientific qualifications, though on which I am as entitled to hold an informed opinion as anyone else. So here are a few thoughts:
1) Whole point of GFA was to create environment in which cross-community relations could be improved under conditions of relative peace & stability. Even regardless of immediate economic damage of Johnson's new trade border, Brexit has already undermined that longterm goal. How?
2) Even if GFA never technically required UK to remain in the EU, the conditions for effective peace process substantially depended on common UK and IRL membership. Anything but softest of soft Brexits was bound to be a problem. So Tories' extremist Brexit is especially damaging.
Read 8 tweets
30 Dec 20
After my first reading of the draft EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement, here is a short thread with some initial thoughts:
1) this is a massive and complex document, covering very diverse & highly specialist fields. No single person could ever plausibly claim properly to master/understand it. So I’ve focused on my own (“big picture”) interests. Not, eg the (in fact marginal) details of fishing quotas
2) Let’s start with how draft treaty is being framed by UK Gov & client press. They compare it to “no deal” & thus treat it as some sort of triumph. Well: even on own terms, that is far from accurate: for many sectors, draft treaty is barely better than no deal at all
Read 15 tweets
7 Dec 20
Lots of requests for a "step-by-step" guide to where we are with the EU-UK negotiations.

So here you go - short thread summarising the essential context & key points / issues:
1) UK formally left EU in January 2020 but entered a "transition period" during which nothing very much changed: meant to give time for negotiations over future EU-UK relationship in fields like trade and security; based on "Political Declaration" as agreed by Johnson Government
2) Political Declaration envisaged only distant EU-UK relationship: partly logical consequence of Theresa May's longstanding "red lines" on free movement etc; but also result of renewed political preference, by Johnson Government, for even more extreme "clean break Brexit"
Read 16 tweets
8 Nov 20
Taking part in the pan-Liverpool mass testing scheme was dead easy: in and out in 15 mins; result by text within an hour.
It's not for me to say whether this scheme offers great promise or suffers whatever flaws. When a bona fide call comes - aux armes, citoyens - it's a civic duty to answer.
A negative result means: carry on obeying the rules that help keep people safe. Which is exactly what I'll do. My fellow scientists will learn whatever lessons need to be learned from the scheme. To the benefit of us all.
Read 4 tweets

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