Tag Archives: trade

John Redwood thinks the UK can control its fish. John Redwood thinks he is Aquaman

John Redwood: I’m quite fond of this image of him, clearly broadcasting from his home planet.

Just when the Conservatives really need someone to win back their credibility, John Redwood turns up and starts talking about fish.

As UK-EU trade talks resumed in London, with an attempt to resolve differences on fishing quotas high on the agenda, Redwood tweeted this:

“Controlling our own fish”?

They’re not like dogs! You can’t put a salmon on a lead. You can’t put a harness on a halibut. And I’m sure a cod couldn’t care less what John Redwood thinks it should do.

Maybe fish behave differently on Vulcan.

Maybe Redwood has tired of being compared to a character from Star Trek and wants to take on a new role…

There have been attempts to grapple with the underlying issue…

… but not many.

This Writer wouldn’t be surprised if Tory desperation has reached such a point that they’re hoping we’ll be too busy laughing at Redwood to notice when they bugger up the bargaining – again.

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The stupidity of Liz Truss: who elected these Tories, and are they brave enough to admit it?

Liz Truss: as a trade negotiator she is a blithering imbecile with no redeeming features whatsoever. And that is being charitable!

Back in December 2019, enough people in the UK thought the Conservatives should be trusted to run the country that they gained a Parliamentary majority of 80 seats.

Since then, it seems everything Boris Johnson’s government has done has proved those Conservative voters wrong.

The latest revelation about International Trade Secretary Liz Truss only hammers this point further home – and it relates to Brexit, the subject on which Johnson won his election.

More people voted Conservative because they wanted the UK to leave the European Union and forge its own future by striking advantageous trade deals with other countries. Right?

Truss cut the first such deal with Japan in September, trumpeting “strong tariff reductions on key agricultural products like pork, beef and salmon [that] will benefit farmers and food exporters”.

However, a study by the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO) at the University of Sussex has found that just 10 of 9,444 products will enjoy lower taxes.

They include birds’ eggs, raw hides, fur skins, handbags and ultra-strong spirits of at least 90 per cent alcohol – none of which are exported to Japan by the UK, meaning the study found the gain to UK exporters is zero.

Other changes trumpeted by Truss include “cutting-edge digital and data provisions” that are nothing of the sort.

And she claimed a boost to trade with Japan that would be worth £15.7bn over the next 15 years – but that is in comparison with no deal, not with the EU deal that the UK is giving up, due to Brexit.

And 83 per cent of the gains go to Japanese exporters, with the UK’s getting just 17 per cent.

In fairness, the negotiators have managed to avoid the large increases in tariffs that would have been suffered if the UK had gone back to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

But that is not what Johnson and all the other rabid Brexiters promised us when we voted on leaving the EU, back in 2016.

They promised us vast improvements in the prices we would get for our goods – and that’s what Truss tried to claim she had got for us.

They all lied. They failed. They are stupid – possibly the stupidest gang of dimwits ever to infest Whitehall.

And they think we’re stupid enough to let them carry on inflicting their stupidities on us into the future.

Let’s hope they get that wrong, too.

Source: Brexit: Liz Truss secures tariff wins with her Japan trade deal – for products UK doesn’t export | The Independent

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Unions unite to demand reinstatement of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour’s ratings plummet

 

Seven trade unions have jointly demanded the reinstatement of Jeremy Corbyn to the Labour Party.

Unite, CWU, FBU, TSSA, BFAWU, ASLEF and the NUM have all signed up to the demand after the party’s new general secretary, David Evans, suspended his membership over comments on the EHRC report into anti-Semitism – that Corbyn was fully entitled to make.

It seems Corbyn has been subjected to the usual treatment faced by party members accused of anti-Semitism under a right-wing general secretary: he still does not know what rule he has broken.

For more information see this article.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party’s approval ratings are plummetting, according to an opinion poll.

A snap poll by the admittedly Tory-run firm YouGov found that Starmer’s ‘favourability’ rating had dropped by seven points over the two days of the report and suspension, with Labour’s falling even further, by twelve.

Further information on that is in this article.

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Why did Johnson say trade talks with the EU had ended – only to restart them within days?

Duper’s delight: This is the smile Boris Johnson wears when he is lying. Was he wearing it when he announced that talks on a trade deal with the EU had been called off?

This looks like a set-up, to me.

Last week, Boris Johnson and his Tory government said that a “no deal” Brexit was now inevitable because talks with the EU had broken down irretrievably.

“Really?” I thought at the time. “Are they going to come back in a few days time and say there’s been a breakthrough, it’s all back on and they’re making a history (it’s always historic) deal?”

And lo! it is coming to pass:

The UK is “ready to welcome the EU team” to continue negotiations over a post-Brexit trade deal, says No 10.

The two sides’ chief negotiators, Lord David Frost and Michel Barnier, spoke on the phone earlier after talks stalled last week.

Following the conversation, Downing Street said the pair had “jointly agreed a set of principles for handling this intensified phase of talks”.

The intention is to create some more public goodwill for the Tories, who have realised that any good feeling among the general population of the UK has dwindled away to nothing.

Of course, being Tories, they can’t generate it by actually doing something good; it had to be with a stupid trick.

Anybody can fabricate an emergency of their own making and then solve it.

If a deal comes from the new negotiations, it is because the UK and the EU were always going to make one – not because the talks have been saved.

Anything else is just more smoke and mirrors from the Tory liars.

That’s my interpretation of it.

Source: Brexit: UK ‘ready to welcome EU’ to continue trade talks – BBC News

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Johnson’s overcooked ‘oven-ready deal’ has blown up in his face. Why is he happy about it?

From Twitter: the caption was “Get in, losers. We’re driving it off a No Deal cliff.”

It seems Boris Johnson is getting exactly the kind of Brexit his backers wanted: ‘no deal’, meaning disaster for the UK economy.

He is putting on his sad face at the moment but that’s not fooling me, and it shouldn’t fool you.

His claim that Brussels has “abandoned” the ambition of a free trade deal is as empty as his soul:

Sky News has this to say:

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator has told his European counterpart not to come to London on Monday to resolve stalled talks, after the prime minister warned it was time to “get ready” to leave without a deal.

Isn’t this the same prime minister who said there was an ‘oven ready’ trade deal, only last year?

And didn’t he – also – say that failure to secure a deal would be a failure of statecraft?

So isn’t he admitting that he is a failed prime minister? And shouldn’t we be demanding his resignation and replacement at the earliest possible opportunity?

Johnson is, of course, doing his best to blameshift responsibility for his failure onto the EU:

Mr Johnson said in a dramatic intervention that “there doesn’t seem to be any progress coming from Brussels”.

He told businesses and hauliers to “get ready” for there to be no free trade deal.

But this is clearly nonsense, in the light of what he – and other Brexiters – have been saying since before the EU referendum in 2016.

They have spent years trying to convince us that the EU nations would be desperate to forge a deal with the UK that would put us at an advantage.

Instead, it seems we’re going to have to pay high tariffs to sell into a market that was free before Johnson and his cronies convinced 17 million of us to vote the entire nation out.

And remember, Johnson won last year’s general election on this – claiming that he would “Get Brexit Done” and it would create a golden future for the UK.

Well. At best he was mistaken. At worst he was lying.

This Writer remembers the claims that he was in cahoots with a cartel of wealthy hedge fund bosses who had bet heavily on the UK leaving without a trade deal, and on this causing the end of a large number of major UK businesses.

Doesn’t this seem more likely now – especially as Johnson has intervened personally to stop any further negotiations, a month and a half before the transition period ends?

It all seems highly suspicious to me.

And I’m not the only one, it seems:

(Incredible that Boris Johnson’s selfishness has actually put me on the same side as Dan Hodges…)

It seems likely the decision to end negotiations and prepare for ‘no deal’ could also mean the end of the United Kingdom as we know it:

Johnson tried to regain some of the credibility he has lost by suggesting that the UK was headed for an “Australia-style deal”…

He said the UK’s relationship with the EU could be more like the one Brussels has with Australia, which will mean tariffs being introduced on goods between the UK and the 27 other EU countries.

… but it seems he’s either badly mistaken (yet again) or trying to pull over our eyes (yet again):

Perhaps this is the most accurate comment of the day:

Source: Brexit: Michel Barnier told to stay home after Boris Johnson says EU ‘abandoned free trade deal’ | Politics News | Sky News

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Look at the diseases in the US food your Tory government wants you to eat

Yummy yummy diseases for your tummy: a chlorinated, antibiotic-fed chicken. It may well be full of salmonella, e.coli and excrement but your Tory government will be demanding that you eat it if it signs a trade deal with the United States.

Channel 4’s Dispatches has highlighted the danger into which Boris Johnson’s Tory government will force us, if it is allowed to make a trade deal that will kill UK farming and force us to eat chlorinated chicken and other diseased foods from the United States.

This Site told you on Tuesday (October 13) that the government has rejected calls to enshrine high food standards in law, saying it is enough that Tory ministers have said they will demand such standards in any trade negotiations with foreign nations.

These are the same Tory ministers who supported Johnson’s EU Withdrawal Agreement to the hilt in January, and now say that it is no good and they support breaking international law – turning the UK into a criminal state – instead, so their word is worth less than nothing; it is a promise of betrayal.

Dispatches has shown us what it will mean if we allow food into the UK from the United States:

Yes, you heard it correctly: the Americans would sell us meat that has animal excrement in it.

And yes: the diseases carried in this US meat would cause serious problems to people with long-term ill-health, meaning the Tories would be creating another opportunity to quietly kill off many thousands more people with long-term illnesses and disabilities and wipe them from the benefits bill.

Apparently somebody spoke up on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, demanding that the Tory government legislate for higher food standards.

But I fear this Twitter user has drawn the right conclusion:

That is my feeling, too: Boris Johnson’s loyalty lies with the US rather than with us.

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Derision for Liam Fox as he’s knocked out of race to lead World Trade Organisation

Liam Fox: bye bye.

Tory joke candidate Liam Fox has been knocked out of the race to become director-general of the World Trade Organisation.

According to the Torygraph, the former international trade secretary was eliminated before the last of three rounds to replace Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down a year earlier than expected at the end of August, so

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee will go head-to-head to become the trade body’s first female director-general

The reaction has been what you might expect, considering the person involved.

Fox was forced out of an early David Cameron cabinet for letting a friend of his, Adam Werrity, into confidential defence meetings and taking him on foreign junkets.

He has since crept back into Tory cabinets and was Theresa May’s International Trade secretary.

But he is widely held to be another inept Tory fool.

So the reaction to his WTO failure was clear:

Despite his abject ineptitude, Fox seems to be one of the survivors of the modern Tory Party, having managed to hang on in Parliament and in government circles for the last 10 years and more.

Let us hope this finishes him off and he retires to the obscurity he so richly deserves.

Source: Liam Fox knocked out of race to lead World Trade Organisation

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Lords defeat Johnson over food standards because they don’t want chlorinated chicken

Chicken: if this one was of the US chlorine-washed variety, do you think Boris Johnson would be soiling his hands with it?

Boris Johnson’s hopes of a trade deal with the United States are looking increasingly like a house of straw… built on sand.

Already leading figures in Congress have said they will block a trade deal if Johnson pushes his Internal Markets Bill into UK law, as it would break international law and – particularly – threaten the peace in Northern Ireland.

(Did Johnson really dream up this Bill because his Russian donors demanded it?)

Now the House of Lords has amended his Agriculture Bill, so that food products imported under any future trade deals must meet or exceed current standards in the UK – to prevent farmers in this country from being undermined.

For the opposition, Lord Grantchester warned: “Low-quality food cannot be allowed to jeopardise rural communities by undercutting UK farmers with products using methods that would be illegal here.”

Consumers did not want chlorinated chicken or hormone-treated beef to be imported from the US, he said.

It was only by supporting the Labour-led move that peers could be sure the Government was “bound to its commitment not to import food of lower standards than our own domestic products”, Lord Krebs said.

Baroness Boycott, a crossbench peer, said chlorinated chicken was the “tip of the iceberg” of “bad food” which could come into the country.

The amendment is a rejection of the Tory government’s claims, as summarised by Baroness Noakes:

“The government’s policy is clear. They are committed to higher food and welfare standards.

“We do not need to write into law what the Government is committed to.”

Clearly the majority of the Lords disagree – and who can blame them?

The whole point of not writing such a commitment into legislation is to ensure that a government can U-turn on it, once it has been enacted, and we all know it. That’s why the amendment has been brought in.

Unfortunately, it is well within Boris Johnson’s power to throw out the Lords’ amendment, so that the eventual law will undermine UK farmers, and will allow diseased meat onto our plates.

It is possible that MPs will stop and think for a moment before blithely voting it away, though; debate in the House of Lords is of a higher standard than that in the Commons and their reasons for changing a Bill deserve careful consideration.

Many Tories represent rural constituencies full of farmers.

How will those people take it if one of the earliest actions of these MPs in the new Parliament is to stab their voters in the back?

Source: Government defeated in Lords over post-Brexit food standards | The Independent

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US Congress threatens to pull out of #freetrade deal if UK undermines #GoodFridayAgreement

Partners? Dominic Raab is in the United States, where he has been meeting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. But the threat to the Good Friday Agreement posed by the Tory government’s Internal Market Bill means they may not see eye-to-eye.

This is awkward for Boris Johnson.

The US Congress – or at least members of it – is threatening to withdraw from any free trade deal with the UK if Boris Johnson’s Internal Market Bill undermines the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland.

This is a body blow to Johnson, who has claimed that the Bill is vitally important even though it very clearly breaks international law by shattering treaty agreements with the EU and in NI.

According to the BBC:

US Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week said there would be no UK-US trade deal if the Good Friday Agreement was undermined.

Ms Pelosi said if the UK broke international law and Brexit undermined the Good Friday Agreement – the Northern Ireland peace deal – there would be “absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress”.

On Tuesday, four senior congressmen also issued a similar warning, saying a UK-US trade deal would be blocked if the UK failed to preserve the gains of the Good Friday Agreement.

In a letter to Mr Johnson, the four congressmen said the plans to give ministers powers to override part of the UK’s exit agreement – designed to avoid a hard Irish border – could have “disastrous consequences for the Good Friday Agreement and broader process to maintain peace on the island of Ireland”.

“We therefore urge you to abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the withdrawal agreement and look to ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine the decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland,” the letter added.

The letter was signed by Democratic congressmen Eliot Engel, Richard Neal, and Bill Keating, who all chair committees in the US House of Representatives, as well as Republican Congressman Peter King.

Downing Street has said the GFA will be upheld “in all circumstances” but the problem is that Johnson has a record of saying one thing and doing the opposite.

The row over the Internal Market Bill is because it contradicts the EU Withdrawal Agreement that Johnson himself signed in January after expelling 21 Tory MPs for failing to support him.

He simply cannot be trusted; he will say anything he likes to get whatever he wants at a particular time.

The warning from Congress underlines fears that no other nation will want to do a deal with a country that breaks international law.

The Americans would be better-advised to pull out of any deal now.

They might as well be negotiating with a spoilt child.

Source: Brexit: Dominic Raab seeks to reassure US politicians over Brexit bill – BBC News

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Cheese queen Truss trumpets free trade deal with Japan, selling Stilton to people who are lactose-intolerant

Liz Truss: the queen of cheese, who once warned that Brexit would seriously harm the UK, is now proving it with a duff free-trade deal with Japan. It’s no different from the deal we had as part of the EU, but with added Stilton.

Liz Trust can’t get away from cheese, can she?

The International Trade minister has just announced a brand-new post-Brexit free trade deal with Japan. Hooray!

But didn’t we already have a free trade deal with Japan?

Yes. Yes we did.

But this one has added Stilton cheese!

Let’s review Liz Truss and her association with cheese:

Well, at least now she’s talking about exporting it…

… to a country where most people can’t eat it – and a country where nobody eats Stilton at all:

So Japan has given us the same free trade deal we had as part of the EU, with added Stilton cheese. Not much of a victory, is it?

These people certainly don’t think so:

Oh and wait for it… here comes the punchline…

This is only an agreement in principle; the Japanese haven’t signed the deal yet. In other words, the Stilton may yet come off the (cheese) board.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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