1/ A few people have pointed out this paragraph in the UK's readout of the Australia-UK FTA Agreement in Principle and asked whether it means the UK will be accepting Australian standards after all👇

We obviously don't have the text, but my judgement is that's NOT what it means.
2/ Recognition of SPS measures is a pretty common thing to see in Free Trade Agreements.

Typically it's used when both sides have their own versions of laws that do the EXACT same thing.

So the agreement basically says, "Your law banning Y is as good as our law banning Y."
3/ Here's an example from CETA (Canada - EU FTA):

As you can see it lists specific EU regulations and matches them with specific Canadian laws, and then says that with some exceptions, they're considered equivalent.
4/ What's really important here is that these laws/regulations DO THE SAME THING.

This kind of recognition isn't used to say "Your law allowing hormones is like our law banning them."

Instead it's used for, "Your law banning this hormone is like our law banning this hormone."
5/ What does this achieve?

Basically it's a way of reducing compliance and testing burden at the border.

If you accept that the other side bans a substance just as hard as you do, you may not need to check for it as carefully (fewer checks = cheaper = faster borders).
6/ Could this pose a risk to UK standards anyway?

It's theoretically possible (though nigh unheard of in FTAs) to grant equivalency recognition to laws that are narrower in scope than your own, or more loosely enforced.

Can't rule it out but unlikely.
7/ What will this mean for easing EU border checks and the NIP?

Way too early to say.

We need to know:
1⃣ What are the equivalencies in the deal?
2⃣ Do they significantly reduce testing compared to what the EU does?
3⃣ What is the EU offering the Aussies in EU-Aus FTA?
8/ "But Dmitry, you neoliberal Australian Tim Tam shill 5th columnist, how can you say any of that with confidence without having read the text?"

Fair. I can't tell you precisely what's in this deal, but I can say how other agreements have handled this.

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More from @DmitryOpines

16 Jun
This is my very rough attempt at illustrating how the sheep and lamb quota will work in the FTA based on the Australian government press release.

I've included the entire EU28 Quota as a starting comparison point. The post-Brexit UK "share" of that quota is a bit smaller.
This is beef. The EU28 Quota is a lot more complicated here.

Australia got 7,150 tonnes per annum of "High Quality Beef" and split a 6,625 tonne Grain-Fed quota with Argentina, Canada, Uraguay and New Zealand every quarter. I've (generously) included the total of all of that.
This is sugar.

EU28 Quota on the chart here is the Australia exclusive portion of the EU28 Quota, but there's also a much larger quota that the entire world (including Australia) gets to fight over.
Read 5 tweets
15 Jun
1/ If you're looking for a primer on the Australia-UK FTA agreed in principle today, our geeky trade show has got you covered.

(Full episode Youtube link at the end)

First, @Annaisaac explaining the agreement in 3:27:

2/ Next, @SamuelMarcLowe tries to convince you that it's not a big deal and won't wipe out British farmers:

3/ What about plant health, animal welfare and hormone beef?

We break it down for ten minutes:

If that seems like a lot to you, well... shit's complex, yo.

Read 7 tweets
10 Jun
I don't think it's responsible for the media to print the comments of anyone calling for the abolition of the Northern Ireland Protocol without at least roughly sketching out what should replace it.
The NIP is a compromise in damage mitigation.

It's not meant to be make anyone happy. It was an attempt to to find a balance between everyone's unhappiness that preserves the peace, the Union and the Single Market.

An effort the PM and his boosters celebrated at the time.
The reason it was adopted instead of any of the other options is that everything else was even more politically unacceptable.

Remaining in the SM/CU - No for UK
No Border at all - No for EU
Border between Ireland/EU - No for EU/Ireland
Border on the Island - No for everyone
Read 4 tweets
9 Jun
This June 3 demarche doesn't appear to have changed much.

Given how high the domestic and EU-relations stakes are, it would actually be somewhat disturbing if a private diplomatic rebuke by the US charge d'affaires was the secret sauce needed to alter the UK's position or tone.
At some point over the last two years, perhaps in a rare brush with observable reality, conservative opinion shapers in the UK stopped elevating a US FTA to the status of Brexit Golden Idol to be attained at all cost and worthy of any sacrifice.

That's actually healthy.
The flip side of UK conservative thinking pivoting to looking at a potential US FTA deal like a trading nation considering an agreement, rather than like a 4 year old looking at mommy, is that the US threatening to withhold it no longer carries nearly the same weight.
Read 4 tweets
7 Jun
Putting together some "accessible" slides for tonight's show explaining the draft EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism.

My only takeaway so far is that anyone capable of actually navigating this stuff is going to make a tonne of money doing trade facilitation. Image
It honestly just gets worse: Image
Anyway, tune in tonight (twitch.tv/DmitryOpines) when without context or preamble I put that slide up, turn to @SamuelMarcLowe and say, "So break this down for us real quick..."
Read 5 tweets
6 Jun
Someone reached out to say they couldn't watch All the Goods Trade Puns Were Taken on Twitch, so I threw together a Youtube channel.

The full playlist I'll be updating with each episode is here, and I'll grow this thread with each new episode.

Episode 1 covered vaccine nationalism, international taxation, the UK's CPTPP ambitions and Boris Johnson's ill-fated trip to India.

Episode 2 covered the EU's anti-coercion mechanism, how governments are likely to pursue remote workers dodging taxes, and a brief climate discussion of carbon border adjustment taxes and fossil fuel subsidies.

Read 7 tweets

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