1/ Despite US support-in-principle, efforts to pass a WTO waiver for vaccine intellectual property seem quagmired in Geneva... and everyone here is about to take a month off.
2/ Main problems seem to be:

1⃣ Disagreements among those who support a waiver on its scope (what it should cover) and duration (how long it should last, and procedure to end it); and

2⃣ EU and a handful of others still opposed or proposing non-waiver alternatives.
3/ Back when the US first announced its support in principle for the waiver, I wrote this thread on what I think might be happening:

I think activists may be undervaluing the chance the US position is actually maximum cynicism (#2).

4/ At the time, @SamuelMarcLowe and I also spent an hour unpacking all these issues in what we hope is an accessible way.

You can check out that video here (I promise we've since fixed the sound issues... mostly).

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More from @DmitryOpines

21 Jul
Every week it gets harder to achieve the zen state required to separate legitimate underlying trade issues in something like the Northern Ireland Protocol from the nonsense politicians say, and have said, about them every time political points could be scored.
The NIP isn't flawless, and there are genuine grounds for complaint and concern...

... but fuck me is it hard to hear that from the people who declared it to be the single greatest negotiating accomplishment in human history, delivered by Johnson in spite of expert naysayers.
Experts: "The border has to go somewhere, and there are trade offs in terms of friction if you want to leave the EU SM/CU and not have a border on the island."

May's Team: "Yup."

Johnson's Team Then: "Fuck you nerds, no there aren't."

Now: "Oh noes. Le frictions! But how?!"
Read 6 tweets
21 Jul
If you want a quick primer on the new Northern Ireland Command Paper I recorded this 8 minute overview.

As per @SamuelMarcLowe's guidance, I skipped past the somewhat mopey political stuff at the front and just tried to neutrally talk about the proposal.

Immediately after, I stuck around and answered some great questions from the viewers including of course, "How is the EU likely to feel about all this?"

The full video is here: twitch.tv/videos/1093509…
If you want a much deeper dive into this thing, I would recommend:

This (still growing) thread from customs expert Dr Jerzewska:

Read 4 tweets
19 Jul
1/ Explainer thread on what this is, and why it's a good thing to explore.

Many wealthier countries, including the EU and now the UK in its own right, allow a range of developing countries to sell them goods tariff free or tariff reduced, without a free trade agreement.
2/ The logic is simple.

By providing developing countries an advantage in your market over (some) wealthier competitors, you give them the chance to build up export industries that create jobs and upskill their human capital.

(Not uncontroversial but won't get into that here)
3/ EU programs on this are called:

- The GSP, reducing some tariffs for developing countries.
- The EBA (Everything But Arms) eliminating tariffs for LEAST developed countries
- The GSP+ Plus, reducing GSP tariffs to 0% conditioned on joining 27 int. conventions
Read 13 tweets
28 Jun
Very quick explanation:

Under GDPR if you want to handle the data of EU citizens you have to either:

- Have an adequacy decisions from the EU; or
- Do a huge amount of expensive legal disclaimer/terms of reference work to effectively replicate GDPR for every user
If the EU hadn't granted this, a huge number of UK businesses that so much as store e-mail addresses would have potentially had to spend a lot of money on expensive additional GDPR compliance, stop serving EU customers, or risk fines.

Now they won't!
Read 5 tweets
17 Jun
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.
Read 8 tweets
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

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