Category Archives: Trade

Suella Braverman attacks Indians – while the UK tries to do a trade deal with their country

Is this more proof that the Liz Truss Tory government is actually insane?

Many seem to think it is. Here’s Professor Tim Wilson:

And here’s a more detailed analysis from the BBC’s Politics Live:

Whichever way you see this, it’s a huge shot in the foot for Liz Truss and her government, and a shocking failure of diplomacy. Relations with India may not recover for a considerable period of time.

What do you think of it?

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One-third of UK exporters to the EU have stopped exporting within the first year alone

This being a bank holiday weekend, This Writer is either otherwise occupied or almost totally incapacitated, so I’m putting up material that has interested me – and I hope it interests you. Make of it what you will…

… but I will say that I agree with Phil – if anyone had suggested that exports would plummet by a third before Brexit happened, it would have been condemned as “Project Fear” by Brexiteers.

This disaster became unavoidable after those damned fools seized control of the public discourse.

Here’s the clip:

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EU to launch court action against Liz Truss’s smuggler’s charter for Northern Ireland

I can’t say I blame the European Union chiefs.

As mentioned on This Site before, Liz Truss’s plan to ease the burden on businesses caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit deal effectively creates a “smuggler’s charter”.

It creates the concept of “green lanes” and “red lanes” for trade, with goods coming from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) into Northern Ireland and which are staying there using the green lane – meaning no checks and minimal paperwork, while goods moving from Great Britain through NI into Ireland or the wider European Union would use the red lane –  continuing to be checked at ports in Northern Ireland.

How would anybody know the “green lane” goods were stopping in Northern Ireland – or even whether the goods in the lorries were really as described in the paperwork?

I previously suggested that, alongside plans to ease checks on goods coming into the UK from the EU, this could create a people-smuggling pipeline all the way through to Ireland, wrecking any strategy to prevent it put up by Priti ‘Send ‘Em To Rwanda’ Patel.

The UK also wants the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) to have no future role in deciding disputes involving the protocol, with an independent arbiter sitting in judgement instead.

Independent, as defined by whom? I can see legal disputes over who should judge rattling on until Doomsday.

In response, the EU has indicated it will restart legal action it began in March last year, when it accused the UK of delaying, without consultation, the enforcement of parts of the protocol relating to customs checks – and may go further by taking the UK to the ECJ over claims it did too little to set up border control posts and share data with the EU.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the very law intended to remove the UK from ECJ judgments led to it facing just such a fate?

The problem facing the UK’s Tory government – particularly those dunces Liz Truss and Boris Johnson – is that unionists in Northern Ireland are likely to tear up the Good Friday Agreement if they can’t get free trade between the Province and Great Britain.

That could lead to a resurgence of the infamous “Troubles”.

Sadly, the Labour opposition has no better ideas. Keir Starmer has said negotiation with the EU is the best way forward – but advocated using “guile”, which implies that he wants to deceive the EU into giving UK vested interests what they want.

Level heads can see that no workable solution is being suggested by anybody. They all seem determined to upset each other rather than find a way forward.

How sad to see our supposed national and international leaders squabbling like children.

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Rees-Mogg’s Brexit shame: he admits UK trade checks would be ‘act of self-harm’

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he can’t laugh this off.

Import checks set to be imposed on EU goods entering the UK have been delayed for a year and a half after arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted they would be an “act of self-harm”.

But the checks were part of the UK’s conditions for leaving the European Union, so Rees-Mogg – now the euphemistically-titled Minister for Brexit Opportunities – is saying that the UK’s departure from the EU is actually harmful to the nation.

That’s a big u-turn from a major supporter of Brexit. We would be justified in asking why he has spent the last seven years (or so) claiming the opposite. Was it a deliberate lie?

“You’re admitting that this could save £1billion, which is admitting that checks would cost £1billion. I thought that post-Brexit checks were not going to be disruptive?” he was asked by [a] reporter.

“That’s why we’re not adopting them,” he replied. “This would have been an act of self-harm if we’d gone ahead with it.

“It would have increased costs for people and we are trying to reduce costs… free trade is hugely advantageous to consumers.”

It means UK exporters are now at a considerable financial disadvantage compared with EU firms importing goods into the UK:

That’s right – EU goods are allowed through into the UK with no checks while UK goods are still subject to comprehensive checks on entering the EU.

It means that the UK will essentially continue to depend on the EU to monitor food safety.

And who’s to say that other things may be imported into the UK, with no checks to stop them?

People, perhaps?

That would really spoil Priti Patel’s party, after she proudly fanfared her plan to deport channel-crossing asylum-seekers to Rwanda. What if they start coming by unchecked food lorry instead?

Port authorities are considering legal action against the Tory government to recover the cost of building border control posts they believe may now never be used, as well.

The simple fact is that Tories like Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson – who was the poster boy of Brexit alongside that other horror, Nigel Farage – never bothered to consider the consequences of their hasty and thoughtless departure from the European Union.

It seems clear that they had been led to believe in some possibly-mythical profit for themselves (Tories never make changes without expecting to make some money out of it, somewhere down the line).

But now they are being forced to work through the consequences of their stupidity as the nation demands that they solve the problems they have created, that are costing us an alleged £800 million per week.

Source: Jacob Rees-Mogg makes Remain argument by calling Brexit measures ‘act of self-harm’

US-UK deal hopes dashed because Brexit has killed Britain as an international trader

Out on a limb: Boris Johnson was notably ignored by Joe Biden at the start of a recent Nato defence summit and it seems Biden will ignore him on trade too.

Boris Johnson’s blatherings about Brexit can’t change the fact that the United States couldn’t care less about doing a free trade deal with the UK.

US President Joe Biden is far more interested in trading with the European Union – the very organisation Johnson said we would be better-off without.

Oh yes, the States cut their high tariffs on UK steel and aluminium – but that only indicates that we produce higher-quality steel than they do, and they want to buy it on the cheap.

In all other regards, Biden has adopted a protectionist approach that is anathema to Boris Johnson’s globalist government.

Simply put: Biden wants to build up the United States as an industrial nation, independent of other advanced economies like China, thereby creating high-quality jobs for American citizens.

Johnson, on the other hand, wants to sell everything in the UK to foreign concerns, so he and his Tory cronies can make a quick profit that they can bank in a tax haven. He couldn’t care less about the well-being of UK citizens.

As Dr Peter Holmes, a fellow at the University of Sussex’s UK Trade Policy Observatory, told the Express, “Britain is out on a limb.”

He said Biden agrees with the EU that governments should not subsidise industry – but Johnson’s government believes the exact opposite because it wants to sweeten our assets as prizes for foreign investors.

Look at the £7.1 billion of public money the government gave to the UK’s rail industry, and then look at the prices of tickets on trains that are mainly owned by foreign governments.

And Biden does not subscribe to the UK’s plan to cut carbon emissions; he’s far more in tune with the EU on that, too.

He would be more likely to consider a free trade agreement if the National Health Service was opened up to profit-making US companies, but he would not be interested in full privatisation of the NHS, in trade terms, according to Dr Holmes.

He might also be interested if the UK lowered its food safety standards (remember the fuss over chlorinated chicken?) – but divergence from EU standards would create more problems with imports and exports in Northern Ireland, which the States would want to avoid.

But the Johnson government insists that it remains keen to talk with the States about a free trade deal.

How pointless. Johnson has painted the entire nation into a corner and is trying to avoid responsibility by pretending everything is going according to plan.

Source: Boris Johnson’s hopes of post-Brexit US-UK trade agreement dashed – ‘Biden not interested’

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Brexit ‘red tape’ slashes UK trading revenue with EU by £17 BILLION in just three months

Prophetic: I made this infographic in December 2020 – almost a year ago.

Remember when David Cameron – the architect of the EU membership referendum – said his Conservative-led government would ‘slash red tape’?

It’s almost funny, with hindsight.

Today we learned that the departure from the European Union that his referendum triggered has resulted in a loss of £17 billion in revenue to UK businesses, while they have been swamped in a quagmire of red tape that Brexit has created.

According to The London Economic:

Despite promises from the Leave campaign that red tape would fade after Britain quit the EU, UK companies have had to fill in an astonishing 48 million customs declarations and 140,000 export health certificates in the eight months since the UK quit the single market and customs union , according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

The NAO blamed Brexit for a sharp decline in trade between the UK and EU this year. “Total trade in goods between the UK and EU was 15 per cent (£17bn) less in Quarter 2 when compared with the equivalent quarter in 2018,” the watchdog’s report said.

An additional £600 million in costs has hit British importers since January according to HMRC data seen by The Guardian. The cause has been identified as Brexit, because the taxes were not required for EU imports when the Britain was in the single market.

But isn’t that the exact opposite of what Boris Johnson promised? Didn’t he say there would be no barriers to trade after Brexit?

Why, yes – yes he did:

In fairness, Cameron did cut a lot of “red tape”.

It turned out that these rules and regulations were necessary to keep us safe and secure in our workplaces and financial transactions. I’m sure you can think of your own examples.

Their loss has endangered us.

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After Eustice said Biden didn’t know what he was talking about, Johnson lies about him

‘Get out!’ says Biden after Johnson breaks wind through his mask.

How long is Joe Biden going to put up with schoolboy antics from oiks like Boris Johnson and George Eustice?

US President Biden made it clear in interviews earlier this week that he would discuss the possible threat to peace in Northern Ireland posed by Boris Johnson’s stupid Brexit agreement with the European Union, when he met the UK prime minister.

The official record of the meeting also makes it clear that this is what Biden did: “President Biden reiterated his longstanding support for a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland in which all communities have a voice and enjoy the gains of the hard-won peace.”

But Johnson said it wasn’t discussed:

It’s bad enough when this compulsive liar chokes out a howler like that about a fellow politician here in the UK.

But to disrespect the most powerful human being on the planet in that way, at a time when Johnson is in the United States with his begging bowl out, pleading for a trade deal to get him out of the Brexit-shaped hole that he dug for himself, is plain lunacy.

Oh, but don’t tell me… he’s doing his best.

EXTRA: Just when you think he can’t get worse… I’ve just read this headline: “PM urges humankind to ‘grow up’ – and quotes Kermit the Frog – in call to arms on climate change.” Words fail me.

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Environment Secretary ‘Useless’ says it’s BIDEN who doesn’t understand Brexit NI protocol

A long record of defending the indefensible: Environment Secretary George Eustice has previously stated beliefs that children should starve during the holidays, asylum seekers should drown and people should die of Covid-19 rather than let the economy be harmed.

What stunning arrogance from a man who has been dubbed “George Useless”.

Environment Secretary George Eustice took to our airwaves to try to minimise the damage done by US President Joe Biden’s words on the Northern Ireland border and trade with the UK after Brexit – and made matters much, much worse.

Biden has expressed concern that peace in Northern Ireland could be jeopardised by the “Northern Ireland protocol” between the UK and the European Union, that regulates imports to and exports from the province.

It keeps Northern Ireland aligned with the EU’s single market for goods to ensure free trade across the Irish border, but has led to additional checks on goods being traded across the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which has drawn criticism and protests from unionist politicians in Northern Ireland who have called for it to be scrapped.

Boris Johnson swore to everybody who asked – before Brexit happened – that there would be no border checks between GB and NI… and it now seems clear that he was either lying or did not understand his own deal.

The UK has requested a fundamental renegotiation but the EU has refused – and with good reason. Boris Johnson was desperate to rush his Brexit into being, back in 2019, ensuring that many of his MPs did not understand what they were supporting. Any problem now is his responsibility and he will have to live with it – including any problems it creates with the USA.

Eustice turned up on TV and on the radio to suggest that Biden was “wrong” and had, himself, not properly read the details of the agreement that was negotiated, in a series of interviews that will make Boris Johnson’s current meetings with the US president much more difficult:

Eustice’s attitude was that this matter did not concern the US President…

… but that makes no sense at all when the UK is also trying to negotiate a two-way trade deal with the United States (over which Biden is, again, doubtful).

Eustice admitted, “It’s just not a priority for the US administration.”

And Boris Johnson has also said, “The Americans do negotiate very hard.”

It seems nothing has changed since former president Barack Obama said the UK would be at the back of the queue for a bilateral deal.

So of course the Johnson government has a Plan B, which is to join a trade bloc – like the one the UK has just spent five years leaving:

So the situation is this:

If the UK doesn’t get a trade deal with the US because its deal to leave the EU has created problems in Northern Ireland, then Boris Johnson will try to talk the UK into a trading bloc like the EU.

So what was the point of the last five years of fuss and palaver?

In other news, Julia Hartley-Doodah tackled Eustice on the really important issues:

Wow. If only some of our political interviewers could be bothered to dissect the Tories as thoroughly on issues like Universal Credit, rising bills and – yes – Brexit!

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Ian Botham as trade envoy – who next? Some ideas from the public

Michael Gove and Liz Truss: would it surprise anyone if she really did make him trade envoy to Columbia?

Was former cricketer Lord Botham made trade envoy to Australia because of his adversarial sporting relationship with that country’s representatives?

If so, then the people of the UK have come up with a few other ideas about the people vacant-eyed cheese-monger Liz Truss may be appointing to similar roles – and comment on how Botham is doing.

Here come the takedowns:

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This is how supermarkets should explain the Brexit-created supply shortage to customers

If only supermarkets explained the facts to their customers, like this:

Personally, I could live without the swearing but it makes the point well.

The strongest point is the comment about the cause of the empty shelves.

We know there’s a driver shortage which the Tory government is trying to blame on Covid-19-related illnesses – although I notice there’s no attempt to tell us why all the drivers are supposed to have suddenly become ill at the same time.

In fact, the missing drivers have all been sent packing back to their EU countries of origin because the Tory government demanded it after the UK left the EU.

So the caption that reads,

Brexit caused this – All other COVID affected countries have plenty of stock

is particularly effective and accurate.

Why don’t supermarkets do this for real (I get the impression that this is just a satirical mock-up)?

They’re probably afraid customers will take offence at having to face the facts of their own stupidity – and shop somewhere else.

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