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Faisal Islam @faisalislam
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
#brexitforensics Long Read: Customs Union.
“A vs The”
Why is the Govt already legislating on this, including re a common tariff?
Lack of Port preparations.
More extraordinary internal meetings with manufacturers.
Turkey’s trade deals.…
Cabinet & Conservative argument over “a customs union” raging, as you know, being fought via a proxy war between CBI & ERG.
Basic argument the trade-off and timing on when/if: returns from new trade deals outweigh extra friction in EU trade /1
But there is no fudging this any more. Existing manufacturers need to know right now whether or not “rules of origin” will apply, as soon as next year...
NB they don’t exist in a customs union.
So far Govt has said almost nothing about Rules of Origin - though they would be a significant change required in the change from EU membership to a normal Free Trade Area, designed to stop companies relabeling exports as British. Something else some see as pointing to “a CU” /3
What about the Free Trade Deals? Many biggest fish waiting for UK to leave, for their own deals, and for UK-EU end state to be settled. Ex-Trade minister told me new deals 5th priority. Current trade Bill not about new deals, new one required.
Rees-Mogg and some in ERG want a policy of unilaterally lifting tariffs using Brexit freedoms, in order to demonstrate price-cutting tariff reduction in clothing, footwear and food. Some argue it is necessary for Govt to show Brexit dividend. Therefore no new CU.
Then there is the infrastructiure requirements at the ports. Long term solution re Operation Stack in Kent has been put back, planning permission wont even be applied for until 2019. Local PCC tells me lorry parks, ne hard shoulders required now
More widely, at many ports, eg Portsmouth, just not the space for necessary large scale increase in customs checks for business built on the free flow of lorries on RORO ferries directly on to UK Motorway network... Taxpayer expected to have to pay for infrastructure upgrade.
I report in Long Read, more incredulity from manufacturers involved in Govt Brexit roundtables, where a “fantastically inadequate and impractical” customs plan was floated which “Everyone in the room killed in first 5 minutes”...“you need to be more ambitious” was Govt response
So put it all together:
1. Cabinet split on “a” Customs Union
2. Staying in for transition
3. New Trade deals not prioritised
4. No preps for Rules of Origin
5. No changes to customs/ port infrastructure yet
6. Legislation for “a customs union”
7. Opposition moving to CU ...
Bigger point is this:
Current structure of UK economy is built on existing EU borderless, frictionless trading arrangements, particularly integration into pan European integrated supply chains...
Moving away from CU will inevitably change this - but little strategic preps
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