Sunday, 27 December 2020

Day 286 of self-isolation - Brexit


We have a deal.  But I don't know what it is. There's 1500 pages of it. I'm hoping that someone else will read it and explain it to me.

We seem to have resolved the knotty (but immaterial) issue of fisheries, the tail that has been wagging the Brexit dog.

The main thing I gather from what I've heard is that we have a no-tariff, no-quota agreement with the EU. But I don't see how that can work.

It solves the Irish Question, because it means we won't need a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. It solves the question of "frictionless trade", although I'm hearing that masses of paperwork will be needed, but I can't understand why.

But it doesn't solve the problem of doing deals with other countries.

Suppose the EU has a 50% tariff on wombles, and a very tight quota of 100 per month. So the US exporter of wombles is frustrated in their desire to ship container-loads of them to France. And then the UK does a trade deal with the USA.

Either we have the same tariff and quota as the EU, in which case we don't have the freedom to negotiate our own trade deals. Or else we allow unlimited wombles in at a 10% tariff (or some such generous deal), in which case the UK benefits from the huge influx of wombles and that lovely 10% tariff, and then re-exports them to the EU at no tariff or quota.

Maybe they've written down the solution to that one, but if they have, I haven't heard about it.


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