Tag Archives: tariff

James Delingpole: clueless Brextremist comes unstuck over ‘no deal’ and WTO rules

Rich and clueless: James Delingpole thinks Brexit is a hit worth taking – because he won’t be taking that hit.

In one of the few appearances James Delingpole has made on This Site, he is quoted as saying he smoked cannabis while listening to Supertramp with David Cameron while they were both at Oxford – and one would be forgiven for asking whether he went back on the whacky baccy before appearing on Andrew Neil’s This Week to support a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

Mr Delingpole made a short film extolling the virtues of reverting to World Trade Organisation rules on trade and tariffs between countries, and then appeared in the studio for an interview in which Mr Neil, Caroline Flint and Sam Gyimah – who quit his job as a government minister over Theresa May’s Brexit deal – exposed his attitude as nonsense. Watch:

For accuracy: The hysterical laughter at the end of the clip was added by whoever made it; in reality, Andrew Neil said, “Okay. Well, that’s honest – and on that, we’ll move on. Thank you.”

But we can’t move on.

Mr Delingpole has admitted that his claims are based on nothing but hot air.

Under WTO rules, a country like the UK would have to accept an automatic level of tariffs on all goods coming in and going out. If we chose to waive those tariffs, they would be waived on all trade, and there would be no point in trying to strike free trade deals.

For a net importer like the UK, both situations mean we lose money.

That’s why Mr Delingpole said, “We’re going to take a hit”. But is it a “hit worth taking”?

No! At least, not for ordinary working people. The privileged rich, like Mr Delingpole, may find themselves able to accommodate it.

Rod Thistledown McKie made this point on Twitter: “The thing about those “taking a hit” is they don’t include the likes of Delingpole himself. They are working class voters, for instance Airbus’s 100,000 workers estimate, and they are going to be very, very annoyed with the people who promised them the Earth.”

Airbus has slated the Conservative government’s failure to negotiate a workable Brexit deal, warning that it may leave the UK if Theresa May forces the UK to crash out of the EU with no deal. Airbus employs 14,000 people in the UK, with a further 110,000 in its supply chain.

That’s 124,000 jobs in jeopardy.

None of those jobs are held by Mr Delingpole, of course.

But he, and his Brextremist ilk – like James Dyson, who is famously scarpering to Singapore to build his latest invention which has been dubbed a “moral vacuum”, taking his company’s Corporation Tax contributions with him – did promise those people a brighter future.

And now they are walking away, leaving a huge mess behind them, in the knowledge that they won’t be taking the hit.

And people are going to be angry. This response, for example, is mild:

https://twitter.com/Wirral_In_It/status/1088745468845273089

Should we not be talking about imposing penalties on people who talked up the fictitious benefits of Brexit in order to induce the electorate to support it – when they did not have good reason to do so?

Is there no way to force them to put their money where there mouths have been?

And if not, why not? Poor people stand to lose everything – why should the clueless rich get away scot free?

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‘I’m no hypocrite’ says Dyson of Singapore move. Does he expect us to believe him?

James Dyson: Legs-it rather than Brexit. I used that phrase last time but enjoyed it so much I decided to use it again.

James Dyson has defended his decision to move his company’s head office to Singapore, saying Brexit played no part in the decision.

Instead, he reckons the eight-hour time difference between a head office in the UK and a production plant in Singapore could seriously affect the viability of his business there.

Isn’t it more feasible that he just wants to avoid having to pay increased import-export tariffs, and wants to avoid increased taxes that are likely if Brexit harms the economy in the way the experts expect?

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‘Chequers’ Brexit plan won’t get past Barnier – so what’s the way forward?

Michel Barnier.

We need to think this through.

Mr Barnier said:

“The British have a choice. They could stay in the single market, like Norway, which is also not a member of the EU, but they would then have to accept all the regulations and make contributions to European solidarity.

“But if we let the British cherry pick which of our regulations to follow, that would have serious consequences: all sorts of other third countries could insist that we offer them the same deal.

“That would be the end of the single market and the European project. I am often accused of being dogmatic in the UK, but the truth is I’m only protecting our fundamental interests.”

So, what’s the way forward? Protectionism?

EU manufacturers are being told to boycott our goods because they will pay higher tariffs from the end of March next year. The UK will not be able to rely on those markets.

It follows that UK businesses will also have to eschew the use of EU-originated goods – for the same reason.

We’ll have a choice between trading elsewhere – and we all know how well that’s going! – or working hard to become self-sufficient.

That’s protectionism. It is what globalists like the Conservatives have argued against for decades. How ironic that they are leading us back to it.

And it still has a huge disadvantage. It takes time.

There is no easy way out of this. No smart way. All the options are bad and we have only a choice between evils.

That’s Tory Brexit for you. A decision made on false information, on a choice that was offered purely to heal rifts within the Conservative Party – an aim that it failed to achieve.

And the selfish Tory who started this imbecility – David Cameron – didn’t even stick around to see through the consequences of his foolishness. He ran like a scalded pig.

The lesson is clear: Tory selfishness leads to Tory stupidity, which leads to suffering for the people of the UK.

At the next general election we need to make sure they aren’t allowed the opportunity to make matters worse – because, given that chance, they will.

Michel Barnier has warned he is “strongly opposed” to the prime minister’s Chequers proposal on future trade with the EU after Brexit, warning the “illegal” offer would “end” the European project.

In what were some of his harshest words yet for the British government’s plans, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said allowing Britain to “cherry pick” regulations would have “serious consequences”, adding it would be “much easier” if the UK stayed in the single market.

Mr Barnier’s comments came in an interview with newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in which he told European carmakers they would need to shun British manufacturers in order to enjoy low tariffs on their global exports.

Source: Brexit: Michel Barnier ‘strongly opposes’ May’s Chequers proposals, warning offer would be end of EU | The Independent

Increase in US tariff on Bombardier plane shows up Theresa May’s diminishing influence

A Bombardier C-series jet, part of the Delta airline fleet.

Could anything demonstrate the UK’s diminishing influence on the international stage – entirely due to the Conservative government – than the US tariff on Bombardier planes?

This Site reported when the US government slapped its original 220 per cent tariff on Bombardier, in a move that seemed intended to serve notice on the UK that leaving the EU will destroy our aerospace industry altogether.

It seems Theresa May’s government has been in touch with the States about it – and what happened?

The new tariff has been a gift for the Labour Party. Here‘s Owen Smith, Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, making the obvious points:

“While Theresa May worries about press coverage of the phony P45 she was handed this week, more than 4,000 Bombardier workers in Belfast are worried that they’ll receive a real one unless her Government brings Boeing and its allies at the US Commerce Department to the negotiating table.

“Given that the UK Government is Boeing’s second biggest client – we spend over £1.5 billion with them every year – it is inconceivable that ministers have not been able to negotiate a better deal.

“The Government must tell the public what pressure it has really placed on Boeing and on the US Administration. Without any evidence of concrete action, concerns will grow that UK ministers have naively accepted Boeing’s assurances about the safety of jobs in Belfast or worse, have negligently accepted Bombardier job losses as ‘collateral damage’ in their post-Brexit strategy.”

The US Department of Commerce has again ruled against aerospace firm Bombardier in its dispute with rival Boeing.

A further tariff of 80% has been imposed on the import of Bombardier’s C-Series jet to the US for alleged below-cost selling.

This is on top of an earlier tariff of 220% which related to subsidies Bombardier got from Canada and the UK.

There have been warnings that the import tariffs could threaten Bombardier jobs in Belfast.

About 1,000 jobs are linked to the C-Series, the wings of which are made at a purpose-built £520m factory in the city.

Source: Further tariff of 80% imposed on import of C-Series plane – BBC News


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Bombardier and the reason #Brexit will further cripple UK industry

A Bombardier C-series jet, part of the Delta airline fleet.

The US Government has decided to slap a huge, 219 per cent tariff on imports into that country of a new aeroplane made by Northern Ireland-based company Bombardier, in a protectionist move that seems intended to give notice to the UK that our aerospace industry will be ruined by Brexit.

It would more than triple the cost of a C-Series aircraft sold in the US to about $61 million per plane, based on Boeing’s assertion that US airline Delta, which has bought the planes, received them for $19 million each.

The US Department of Commerce agreed with Boeing’s case that Bombardier had received unfair, anti-competitive state support from the Quebec regional government.

Bombardier, which has also received £113m in repayable funding from the UK government, called the decision “absurd and divorced from the reality about the financing of multibillion-dollar aircraft programmes”.

It seems the company is right. Here’s Chris Kendall on Twitter to explain:

What do you think? And what does this mean for the Conservative Party’s deal with the Northern Irish DUP?


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Nissan deal has created a financial nightmare for UK taxpayers. Thanks for nothing, Tories!

Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn received assurances from the prime minister that the carmaker would be shielded from the impact of Brexit [Montage: FT/Getty].

Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn received assurances from the prime minister that the carmaker would be shielded from the impact of Brexit [Montage: FT/Getty].

It’s looking as though Anna Soubry was right and Nissan was indeed offered a ‘sweetener’ deal to stay in the UK after Brexit.

It seems certain that other firms will rush to secure similar assurances – that would leave the Treasury, and the hard-working UK citizens the Tories are so fond of praising, seriously out of pocket.

It seems the Conservative Government under Theresa May is unsafe wherever it goes.

If it denies any further ‘sweeteners’ to other multinational firms, they may pack their bags and head for the continent.

If it gives in, then not only will it seem weak but it will also create a spending commitment that taxpayers will struggle to meet.

So a deal that the Tories were touting as a huge victory only two days ago now stands revealed as a monumental mess.

Still, it’s a rosy result for Nissan and company director Carlos Ghosn, who will build two new models at a plant in Sunderland from 2019.

These are the X-trail and the Qashqai – although Mr Ghosn may wish to consider renaming the latter.

In the light of recent events, ‘Cash Cow’ seems more appropriate.

Nissan warned the British government that the carmaker would wind down UK operations if it was not guaranteed competitive trading conditions with Europe, according to two people involved in negotiations over future investment in its Sunderland plant.

During talks that led to a meeting between Theresa May and Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, the Japanese carmaker said it was prepared to shift production to its Spanish and French factories in a move that would lead to the closure of its British plant and other UK sites.

Government assurances offered to Nissan led to its decision this week to locate two new cars at the plant from 2019, safeguarding more than 30,000 jobs at the site and in its supply chain.

Sunderland’s closure would have caused a political tidal wave and set a precedent for other carmakers to locate future work outside Britain.

Rival carmakers are now demanding the same assurances offered to Nissan to shield them from the impact of Brexit. While technology and pharmaceuticals companies are prioritising visas for skilled workers, other exporters including chemicals manufacturers have set tariff-free access to the EU as a priority.

The prime minister’s office faces calls from Labour to disclose details of its exact pledges to Nissan, including the contents of a letter written by Greg Clark, the business secretary, to Nissan’s executive committee in Japan.

According to several people familiar with the contents of the letter, it contains the same assurances that were offered to Mr Ghosn by the prime minister — namely that the carmaker would face no change in its trading conditions following Britain’s exit from the EU.

Source: Nissan warned government on fate of Sunderland without deal

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No ‘sweeteners’ in Nissan deal, says Clark – because other firms will want equal treatment?

The production line was stopped at 11:00 BST on Thursday so workers could be told about the decision [Image: Getty Images].

The production line was stopped at 11:00 BST on Thursday so workers could be told about the decision [Image: Getty Images].

Here’s another chance for Theresa May’s Tories to tie themselves in knots.

The car manufacturer Nissan announced yesterday (Thursday, October 28) that it will remain in the UK post-Brexit, meaning more than 7,000 jobs at its Sunderland plant are safe and it will manufacture two new models there.

But was it offered a ‘sweetheart deal’ to stay? Business Secretary Greg Clark says no.

“There’s no cheque book. I don’t have a cheque book,” he said on the BBC’s Question Time.

“The important thing is that they know this is a country in which they can have confidence they can invest. That was the assurance and the understanding they had and they have invested their money.”

Was he lying, though? According to The Guardian, “Greg Clark reportedly gave a ‘last-minute written promise’ to Nissan to protect the company from the consequences of Brexit, in a pledge that will fuel Labour’s demand for the government to publish any private guarantees.”

And fellow Tory Anna Soubry indicated her own conviction that a ‘sweetener’ had been applied. The Telegraph reported: “She said she had met Nissan on June 30, a week after the Brexit vote, and that the company expressed ‘profound concerns’ about tariffs.

“She told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: ‘They didn’t give the detail of what they wanted, they made it very clear that without a guarantee that they would not be subject to tariffs or if they were subject to tariffs the Government would do something to mitigate the damage of tariffs… that without that, they told me, my understanding actually was that they would go to Renault because they clearly had the capacity there.’

“On the assurances that helped Nissan decide to build its next-generation Qashqai, and add production of the new X-Trail model, at its Sunderland plant, Ms Soubry said: ‘I don’t know what it is but I would be very surprised if there hasn’t been some sort of guarantee to mitigate any tariffs should they be imposed.'”

Just to muddy the waters, though, it seems Nissan never had any intention to leave – according to right-wing gossip-monger Guido Fawkes’ blog, which stated in May: “Nissan are on the record saying they won’t leave Britain post-Brexit and have been at pains not to scaremonger about the referendum. So they were a bit put out by Anna Soubry using their reception in parliament last night to preach doom on their behalf. The event had nothing to do with Europe, but Soubs misjudged the tone and told guests how leaving the EU will cause a ‘disaster for manufacturing’ and result in ‘an immediate 10% tariff on Nissan cars’.”

Now she pops up again, again talking about tariffs. And we have no guarantee that Nissan meant what it said before the referendum; it could have been angling for a ‘sweetener’, even then.

And a ‘quiet’ deal would be handy for the government, if it didn’t want to promise a mitigation deal for every Tom, Dick or Harriet who is now facing a 15% tariff on imports/exports.

Bizarrely, some commenters on Twitter were all right with that:

So there you have it. If you don’t get a ‘sweetener’ deal from Theresa May and Greg Clark, then your firm probably isn’t considered “good for the economy”.

In fact, it’s more likely to be because Mrs May and Mr Clark simply don’t want to pay out compensation to any old pleb who is likely to suffer because of their party’s silly referendum stunt.

That’s nice to know, isn’t it?

Now British Gas has cut its standard tariff – by much less than it should

150119britishgas

Gosh. British Gas is to cut household gas prices by five per cent – but this is a whopping 22 per cent less than the fall in wholesale gas prices.

The company says its 6.8 million customers will benefit by £37 over a year (that’s if the price cut remains for that long). It’s more than E.On customers (as reported here yesterday)…

… but the benefit of the wholesale price cut means British Gas will still make a whopping profit of more than £1 BILLION.

(Total profit is likely to be around £1,107,040,000).

British Gas representatives were all over the media this morning, apologising for making customers wait until February 27 before they feel the benefit; this is because the company reckons it bought the gas being used at the moment at higher, 2013-14, prices.

They should have been apologising for failing to pass on all of the wholesale cut to customers. It would have saved them very nearly £200 per year.

That kind of money is desperately needed by families feeling the pinch of the Conservative-planned cost of living crisis.

The drop will only benefit customers on British Gas’s standard and those Fix & Fall tariffs and the effect on different customers will vary.

The Labour Party, which has been campaigning for fairer energy bills for more than a year, has been (understandably) disparaging about this meagre display of largesse.

Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint tweeted: “Wholesale gas prices down by [more than] 20%, yet gas bills only cut by 5%. Regulator must have power to make sure full savings go to all consumers.”

In a statement to the press, she added: “This shows that Ed Miliband was right to challenge the energy companies to cut their prices and pass on the falls in wholesale costs to consumers. But given gas prices have fallen by at least 20 per cent a price cut of just 5 per cent means consumers still aren’t getting the full benefit of falling wholesale prices.

“The next Labour government is committed to making big changes in our energy market: freezing energy prices until 2017 so that bills can fall but not rise, and giving the regulator the power to force energy companies to cut their prices – when wholesale costs fall – to all of their customers.”

Some have taken issue with the description of a freeze that allows prices to fall, rather than keeping them static, but this is nit-picking. We can all see that Labour is simply pushing for households to get the best deal.

What do the Conservatives want? What do the Liberal Democrats want? Only last week they showed…

They’re quite happy for the rich company bosses to keep your money.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Labour wins price battle as E.On cuts tariffs; the war continues

The price of privatisation: This graph charts the rise and rise of utility prices since privatisation. When the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s sold them off, the promise was that prices would fall.

The price of privatisation: This graph charts the rise and rise of utility prices since privatisation. When the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s sold them off, the promise was that prices would fall.

Here’s something many people may have missed: German energy company E.On has cut its standard gas tariff in response to “mounting political pressure”, according to the Telegraph.

Don’t get too excited – the 3.5 per cent reduction is less than one-eighth of the 27 per cent drop in wholesale gas prices over the last 12 months, but it does mean that around two million customers will save £24 on their gas bills if the reduction stays in place for a year. That’s equivalent to two weeks’ worth of usage.

E.On will lose £48 million of what it would have had if it had kept the tariff at its previous level – but if prices stay the same, it will gain £322,285,710 in comparison with its profits before the wholesale price dropped.

In any case, E.On has a lower tariff with an annual bill of £923, more than £200 less than the £1,145 post-cut cost of its standard rate.

So it seems Labour was right to call the cut “pretty measly”.

Some commentators have tried to claim that E.On’s move will signal a price-cutting war between the so-called ‘Big Six’ suppliers, but nearly a week has gone by with no further announcements.

The day after E.On cut prices, a Labour motion for regulator Ofgem to force energy companies to pass on the benefits of wholesale price cuts to their customers was defeated when the Tories and Liberal Democrats voted to support the energy companies rather than their constituents.

Despite voting against a move that would make it compulsory, Tories have hypocritically called on energy firms to pass on such savings willingly, and George Osborne has asked fuel companies to do the same with the prices of petrol and diesel.

There’s one more thing to say about this. Take note of the fact that E.On is a German company. This is what happens when you allow rampant privatisation of national utilities like gas and electricity – foreign companies get a chance to take those utilities away and run them for their profit, rather than for the good of the country.

E.On will make more than £300 million in profit from UK citizens, even after cutting its prices – and that’s on top of the profit it was already making before wholesale prices dropped.

Foreign firms own our energy companies and water suppliers. Foreign healthcare firms now have their claws firmly embedded in the English National Health Service. Hedge funds now own a large part of the Royal Mail as a result of Vince Cable’s botched sham of a sale last year. Who knows what will happen to the UK’s share of Eurostar, if the Coalition succeeds in selling that off before the election?

These travesties were all made possible because the public allowed the Conservative Party into government, giving its members an opportunity to strip the country of any assets that had value.

We must not make that mistake again.

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ConDem response to outcry over policies: Put a charge on plastic bags.

130914nobags

Today, Vox Political hands over to Geoff Reynolds, a commenter who submitted this in response to the government’s announcement that it is putting a 5p charge on plastic bags in order to discourage their use.

Here in Wales, the Welsh Government levied a charge on plastic bags a long time ago; clearly the Tories and the Lib Dems have realised that this was successful and their scheme is a copycat strategy – but you probably won’t see them admitting it.

Let’s all note that the BBC has once again given space to Tory astroturfers the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which is claiming the change won’t make any difference to the environment, even though it has cut plastic bag use in Wales by around three-quarters.

Here’s Geoff, who starts his comment with his habitual shout:

‘WHILST THE DEATHS OF THOSE WHO HAVE SUCCUMBED TO THE FALLOUT CAUSED BY THE TRULY EVIL CRIMES OF WELFARE REFORMS SPIRAL HOPELESSLY OUT OF CONTROL, THIS IS THE ANSWER FROM OUR GOVERNMENT:

‘“PLASTIC BAGS ARE TO COST 5 PENCE.”

‘WHAT F**KING WORLD DO THESE IMBECILES BELONG ON? IT CERTAINLY ISN’T THE ONE WHERE I LIVE!

‘PENSIONERS ARE DYING OF HYPOTHERMIA, PEOPLE ARE HAVING THEIR HOMES TAKEN, DISABLED ARE BEING STARVED TO DEATH AND MORE CHILDREN ARE BEING BORN INTO POVERTY THAN AT ANY TIME SINCE THE LAST WAR.

‘The only things that are booming are food banks, yet these gormless b*st*rds, who got more for attending a Parliament call-back for Thatcher’s death than I get to live on for a full year, have the impudence to place “a shilling tariff on plastic bags”, at the top of the agenda.

‘They chose to ridicule a report by a UNITED NATIONS inspector on the real plight of our nation, while they pass legislation on a bag!

‘The leaking of the bag tariff has taken the thunder from the Lib Dems’ conference… It has been revealed!

‘WAKE UP YOU DELUDED T*SSBAGS!

‘THERE MUST BE MORE BRAIN CELLS IN A DISCARDED SHOWER CAP THAN THE WHOLE OF OUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WESTMINSTER!

‘WORDS FAIL ME. WE MIGHT AS WELL HAVE A GOLDFISH ON A LEAD.’