Dmitry Grozoubinski Profile picture
Founder ExplainTrade, Executive-Director @GTP_Trade at @IHEID, Visiting Prof. at @UniStrathclyde and Forever D&D DM (He/Him). Stream on: https://t.co/4hoe16qaPa
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11 Oct
1/ Got a good mix of great questions and infuriating comments on this, so a trade war FAQ below.

Feeling cute, might do a video later.
2/ Question: "What is a trade war?"

A trade war is when governments start using the tools of trade policy (tariffs, bans, requirements, testing, procedures etc.) maliciously, instead of merely selfishly (as is normal).
3/ Question: "What does that mean?"

It means analysing another government's economy and imposing barriers to trade and investment where they'll do the most economic or political damage, ideally without hurting your own consumers or producers too much.
Read 8 tweets
14 Sep
I'm VERY Team @TradeGovUK on this one.

First, rolling over an EU FTA may not be exactly as hard as negotiating a fresh deal, but it's still an achievement and Whitehall rando anons who have never been in a negotiating room should probably shut the fuck up about how easy it is.
Second, DIT does a lot of stuff other than negotiating free trade agreements and Whitehall officials of all people should know better than reducing a department to the one part of its work that makes headlines.
Third, the fact that the UK has in many cases (though not always) managed to secure for the UK deals nearly identical to those negotiated by the European Union, a bloc many times its economic weight, is worthy of praise, not derision.
Read 7 tweets
3 Sep
This is funny, but my incredibly lame opinion is that while the government "agreeing on a diagnosis" would be very karmically satisfying for Remainers, it is neither politically feasible nor (more importantly) a prerequisite for tackling current challenges.
To continue Matt's analogy, the patient here admitting WHY his arm is broken isn't vital provided he admits that it IS and lets the doctor treat it.

The government won't magically gain new tools to address HGV shortages if Johnson, Cummings and Mogg all say "Brexit was dumb."
I am firmly convinced that by constantly pushing the government to admit that "THIS IS BREXIT, RIGHT?!?" its opponents are effectively giving it a free pass for the fact that the country is facing some pretty significant challenges on its watch. 🤷‍♂️
Read 4 tweets
2 Sep
1/ If you've never seen a departmental risk register, as mentioned by @TomTugendhat in his grilling of the Foreign Secretary, they work like this (at least in Australia)...
2/ At regular intervals, the executive office of the Department sends out a request to every section, branch and post.

It asks:
1️⃣ What are bad things that could happen?
2⃣ How likely are they?
3️⃣ How bad would they be?
4️⃣ What are we doing to prepare/mitigate?
3/ Based on the answers, a report is prepared for the departmental executive.

If, even with mitigation/preperation a risk is at the intersection of likely and very bad, it gets colored bright red and goes near the top.
Read 6 tweets
5 Aug
1/ I consider myself neoliberal and I think this is great.

Even if you disagree with some of their policy prescriptions (and I'm sure I do), there's no way you get ANY momentum on climate without passionate activism.

Think tankers writing 942 page reports can't do it alone.
2/ Even if you're a libertarian and believe 'the market will fix it' the nature of climate change means the demand has to be partially created by activism.

Loud activism boosted many of the current market demand signals driving green growth and innovation in clean technologies.
3/ There's a huge amount of complexity in tackling climate change in a practical, politically sustainable way. Most of the debates there don't fit on a placard.

However, the only reason we get to have the debate at all is activists keep pushing it onto the front page.

Good.
Read 4 tweets
3 Aug
If firms believed work from home was crippling their productivity they'd unhesitatingly frog march employees back into offices.

If employers were only promoting folks they saw in the office, employees would have gotten the message by now.

thetimes.co.uk/article/go-bac…
For the record, my employees wanted to be able to work from home when convenient without losing the spontaneity of office drop-in chats so we built a virtual one:
For those curious, this is three of us chatting in the hallways:

Yes, I'm in a t-shirt.
Read 4 tweets
26 Jul
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).

Read 4 tweets
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
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:

twitch.tv/videos/1033995…
2/ Next, @SamuelMarcLowe tries to convince you that it's not a big deal and won't wipe out British farmers:

twitch.tv/videos/1033995…
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.

twitch.tv/videos/1033995…
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.

youtube.com/playlist?list=…
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
3 Jun
Yup.

So far there have mostly been "nerdy Brexiters" that have posited without specifics the existence of competitiveness hurting EU red tape to be cut and "nerdy Brexiters" who have a hit-list of red tape they personally hate, but which is far too popular or complex to touch.
That by the is why we're on about the 4th Government Commission/Initiative where it begs someone, anyone, to bring it a list of EU red tape for the bonfire.
EU regulations are far from perfect, and there are doubtless improvements to be made but there really isn't a binder somewhere labelled "Uncomplicated Consequence Free Regulatory Cuts With No Constituency To Boost Growth"
Read 4 tweets
27 May
1/ The debate over the Australia-UK FTA exposed that we don't quite know how the UK government thinks about tariffs.

A thread to try to lay out the options and trace the UK Government's journey so far. 👇
2/ Option #1: Optimistic Libertarian

Crude Summary: "Tariffs are bad, and it's not worth having them even as bargaining chips. Remove them all unilaterally, then use active trade leadership to secure market access abroad the way Singapore or New Zealand do."
3/ Option #2: Strategic Libertarian

Crude Summary: "Tariffs are bad but other countries may be reluctant to get rid of theirs and they're the primary 'chip' traded in negotiations. Keep some tariffs but then get rid of them by trading them away in negotiations."
Read 14 tweets
24 May
1/ @SamuelMarcLowe, @Annaisaac and I started our show to accessibly break down trade issues in the headlines without the stress of a 3 minute TV slot or a pundit yelling at us.

Tonight, we talked through the most common questions about the Aus-UK FTA.

Some clips below!
2/ First, for those who haven't been following the debate, here's @Annaisaac summarizing what we know about the Australia-UK FTA and why it's proven controversial.

twitch.tv/videos/1033995…
3/ Will the FTA destroy British farming? Will the FTA make food radically cheaper for the nation's poor?

@SamuelMarcLowe thinks the answer to both is "probably not" and explains why he thinks everyone should calm down:

twitch.tv/videos/1033995…
Read 9 tweets