EU negotiations

There is one simple rule for UK negotiators seeking a Free Trade Deal with the EU. We do not need to pay to trade. We do not need to accept restrictions and controls on our conduct in order to buy imports from the EU, any more than the USA or Canada or Japan do.

A Free Trade deal is of great benefit to the EU, giving them privileged access to our large and lucrative market for their food and goods. They have promised one in the signed Political Declaration. They know what an FTA looks like, having recently signed ones with Canada and Japan.

I trust the UK negotiators will table a draft FTA based on the best of Japan and Canada with suggested improvements given our tariff free starting point.

We need to take back control of our fish. They should not be offered up as a further sacrifice to secure a Free Trade Agreement.

There is no need for the negotiations to take longer than this year if there is good will on both sides. The UK can show its good will by tabling the proposal soon. If the EU is decent and wants to keep its word all will be well.

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  1. Kevin
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    During the Committee stage this week, Stephen Timms quoted an interesting statement from the Government’s impact assessment for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. It seems to lead to the following equation:

    “Largest democratic mandate in British history” to “Leave the EU” +

    “Stonking majority” to “Get Brexit Done” =

    Goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will be required to complete both import declarations and Entry Summary (ENS) Declarations” (emphasis added).

    Can the Conservative Party please explain how this adds up.

  2. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    John, as far as I know, no one is proposing to impose any conditions on the UK for its continuing to BUY products from the rest of the European Union.

    However, in order to SELL, then its products must meet the safety, hygiene, environmental and ethical standards that it sets, just as do those other parts of the world with which it has reached agreement. There may be requirements regarding unfair competition, which would involve agreements on working conditions etc. too.

    Also, if the UK wishes to use infrastructure facilities such as ports, airports, roads, rail, health and educational facilities, and so on, then there may well be bargaining to be done there, which might end up with the UK paying a net fee – or even vice versa.

    So it seems to me that such red lines are not proper at this stage.

    Whatever, it will be a matter for the negotiators and finally for Parliament probably, but it seems that the doctrinaire purists no longer hold the balance of power there.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 10, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      What you are saying Martin is that UK manufacturers need to meet the requirements of their customers in European markets.
      Well they do this now and they do this in every market in the world they sell into.
      It isn’t a problem.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        In the case of the European Union, they need to have the standards in place by law at home in order for many of their exports to be allowed to cross its borders, as I understand it.

        But never mind, it’s only about half of our external trade.

        • Fred H
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          Marty – – I know ! our world will collapse.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

          I dont think that is correct.
          No such requirement exists for other non EU countries who import into EU member nations.
          There may be some committment in trade agreements such as Japan Canada etc for products to meet EU requirements but that is rather different.

        • Harry
          Posted January 13, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          That is wrong

    • NickC
      Posted January 11, 2020 at 12:13 am | Permalink

      Martin, Any business which exports to any overseas market must conform to its rules. No specific treaty is essential – though the WTO treaties ensure some legal clarity. None of that requires membership of the EU, nor payment, nor the EU stealing our fish. If you think otherwise you will have to decide who has our fish – the EU, or the USA? Or will they divide it up between them?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        The European Union will state its terms.

        What you think is needed or not is neither here nor there.

        The UK can take it or leave it.

        • zorro
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

          They can’t discriminate against us or treat us less favourably than other nations who are not EU members and they are under a legal obligation A8 TEU to facilitate trade…. Unless you don’t agree?

          Article 8

          1. The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.

          2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, the Union may conclude specific agreements with the countries concerned. These agreements may contain reciprocal rights and obligations as well as the possibility of undertaking activities jointly. Their implementation shall be the subject of periodic consultation


          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted January 11, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

            They don’t need to.

            Any serious departure from the far superior terms which this country presently enjoys as a full member of the European Union will have very detrimental consequences.

            Other, remote countries were never starting from that position.

            THAT is the huge, fatal flaw to your frankly silly position.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 12, 2020 at 12:57 am | Permalink

            So other nations who have never been members of the EU currently trade successfully with the EU and have done fir decades.
            No membership fees.
            No open borders.
            No adhering to EU laws.
            Yet you reckon the UK cannot possibly have any such arrangement with the EU.
            Very odd.

        • GeorgeP
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          “The UK can take it or leave it.”

          Exactly right Martin, we can do exactly that and I think most people will be happy for HMG to leave it in the face of further EU inflexibility, intransigence and attempts to retain control over this country.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted January 11, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

            What most people think is neither here nor there either.

            With a majority of eighty the Government will do what it wants.

        • acorn
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

          If you have enough headache pills to hand, have a look at “Fishing authorisations 23/01/2019” on the following EU Brexit Legislative initiatives page.

          Some newer ones are basically Brexit date changes. These initiatives are purely for the EU’s convenience and have to be reciprocated by the UK. I haven’t found anything that says the UK intends to reciprocate in a no-deal Brexit, perhaps JR can advise us.

    • dixie
      Posted January 11, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Why do you pro-EU people never consider both sides of the relationship. If we are a third country to the EU, they are a third country to us with the same problems for their exporters. Without an FTA the EU is likely on shaky ground.

      For example, without a trade agreement with the EU their exports to the UK will be from individual member countries which impacts rules of origin. If a ‘German’ VW car is made from parts from all over the EU is it really a German car. My last German car was actually built in the USA so would likely not meet the rules of origin.

      If the EU does not recognise our food health and quality standards as being compatible with our market it follows the reverse is true and so they will experience similar “friction”.

      Alternatively, they could accept that the notion of “punishment” is counterproductive, sideline the proponents of such an aim and work to achieve cooperative and mutually beneficial arrangements.

      • dixie
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        .. “their” market

  3. formula57
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    The Evil Empire may become desperate if the USA launches its soon expected trade and tariff war.

    O/T Why please are we all still awaiting the Government’s response to you on Australia burning? Was the people’s Blue Boris’s statement about contacting Mr. Morrison all we can expect?

  4. Newmania
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Treasury predictions warn of up to 10% loss of growth over 15 years .Other global arrangements will do us little good ( WTO will be just fine ..) ,and the treasury agree with John Redwood`s astute analysis. A slimmer state back ( cutting welfare and health spending ,environmental and employment regulation) might assist in a sense but the Brexit coalition promised the reverse . Similarly a new acceleration of Non EU immigration might help but this again would be difficult to justify to the volk of Stoke .
    The Blue Brexit Party are seeking to square the circle,by allowing borrowing to get up to dangerous levels all of which puts the UK in a very weak position
    In the meantime we are embarking on a programme of state meddling and winner picking aimed at retaining new working class Northern voters
    A period of levelling down , slow growth and gathering anger will characterise the boring 20s
    Your fault

    • Richard1
      Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      There is no evidence for any of this, your post is hysterical nonsense. Calm down. In 2029 at the end of Boris’s second term there will probably a rational re-assessment as to whether brexit has been a success or not, based on its claimed advantages and whether the – by then – much further integrated EU is worth re-joining. In the meantime I’d suggest a calmer and more rational approach to debate.

    • NickC
      Posted January 11, 2020 at 12:16 am | Permalink

      Newmania, Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity. Your predictions are boring.

    • mickc
      Posted January 11, 2020 at 12:37 am | Permalink

      So…trade trumps democracy?

    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Who are the UK negotiators? Who are the EU negotiators? What are their respective names and where do their political allegiances lie?

    This deal, assuming there is one, will be a political fudge. The EU’s primary agenda is political not economic. Its secondary agenda is imposing limitations on the British economy to prevent this nation from becoming a political and economic threat to the EU-German-French axis project

    The UK can become a truly powerful economy if the British government decide to confront the EU and its restrictive plan

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 10, 2020 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      Can you not do even your own basic research?

      Why do you expect to be spoon-fed with whatever you want to know?

      No, the European Union is not a political project served by economic reasoning.

      It is a moral philosophical one, served by both politics and economics.

      You cynics have never grasped this.

      • Fred H
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        and has failed….

        • bill brown
          Posted January 12, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          Fred H

          for most member states it has actually not failed, all of eastern and central Europe and for most of northern Europe as well

      • NickC
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        Martin said: “Can you not do even your own basic research?”. Coming from you that is rank hypocrisy.

        The fact is that Dominici is right. And you don’t know who the actual negotiators (not the headline frontmen) are, any more than he does. I happen to know one negotiator of a few years ago. I can assure you that person’s name is not in the public domain.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          That’s out-of-date, but it was the first amongst 7,200 results.

  6. Bob
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    So is this correct?
    the Withdrawal Treaty means the UK will leave the
    – EU Parliament and Commission on 31st January 2020
    – Single Market and Customs Union on 31st December 2020
    – EU Court of Justice at the end of 2028

    Also this will we still be allowing EU fishing boats to continue fishing UK territorial waters?

    Will the UK agree to pay Brussels £39 billion before we can even talk trade terms?

    • NickC
      Posted January 11, 2020 at 12:20 am | Permalink

      Bob, Other than the new Danegeld estimate being £30bn, you are essentially correct. The UK remains under EU control after 31 Jan 2020 to almost the same extent as now. The Conservatives are extensively foolish to claim we are “leaving” on 31 Jan when we are simply swapping treaties. It’s such an unforced error.

      • Simeon
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

        Hi NickC,

        May I suggest the claim to be leaving is not an error at all, unforced or otherwise? The calculation is that the 31st of January is ‘leaving’, and that Brexit will thus be done. This message will be broadcast far and wide, with the expectation from our political masters that the pleb’s lust for Brexit will be sated. This achieved, they can then quietly get on with the business of insuring that our ‘leaving’ will be as superficial as possible – our trade and prosperity must be protected, and above all The City, seat of Tory power, and ‘British’ wealth.

        Any awkward implications arising from our failure to retain sovereignty (eg. bad law, immigration chaos, etc.) will be dealt with in the usual way, i.e. BJ BS, supported and enabled by his sycophantic MPs. It is the Tory way.

  7. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I see the new EU leader has already said that any negotiations cannot be finished by the end of the year. Yet another “delay” which will drag on and on – while we still carry on paying them a fortune every single day. Disgusting.

  8. Alan Jutson
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Agree with you John, but pray tell me why we have just voted through the withdrawal agreement on its own, and not linked it to the full and final package.

    Eg “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”

    May put us in a very weak position with her stupid and pathetic negotiation stance/antics. Boris has used his now very much stronger position to sign up for it, without any link to future concessions at all !

    Why ?

  9. forthurst
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Unless the EU acknowledges our sovereignty in international law over our Exclusive Economic Zone, we should walk away and leave under existing WTO rules. We must also have complete autonomy over our agricultural industries and environment without being hamstrung by SavethePlanet nonsense. We either have free trade as between free independent nations or we leave with WTO.

    • grant
      Posted January 10, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      You won’t have trade if nobody will trade with you- secondly it is not our EEZ but the EU EEZ for which we will have to negotiate our way and see what we can get out of it. Then to Leave under the WTO rules that Trump is trying to tear down is also a road to nowhere since we have no Merchant Shipping or overseas shipping agencies anymore- all will need to be reinvented again if we are to start trading with the rest of the world like we did in the 1950′ and 60’s. Now what’s that you were saying about sovereignty and International Law?

      • forthurst
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Very amusing.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Hilarious lack of knowledge of how international logistics works in 21 st century.
        Hundreds of independent shipping companies compete for business with those wishing to move containers of goods around the world.

        How do you think the UK currently trades internationally?

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Indeed but there is clearly unlikely to be good will The EU side. They are desperate to show a big disadvantage in leaving to discourage the others who might follow. That is why we are far better just leaving and forgetting the BORIS, oven ready, deal. A deal that was made even worse by all the traitors who voted for the Benn Act. Many of whom are, appallingly, still MPs.

    The deal makes the future negotiations far harder and not easier.

  11. Mark B
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Good morning – just 😉

    A Free Trade deal is of great benefit to the EU . . .

    True !

    We need to take back control of our fish.

    I find this statement troubling. I thought, that once we become and independent sovereign nation, we would do that anyway. All we need to negotiate is the cost of the Licenses we will be charging them. But no ! Wait ! What they want is free access to our waters ! Err no ! On the 31st January 2020 I want ALL EU fishing vessels out of our territorial waters. If they have not, then we simply have not left the EU. Simple as.

    There is no need for the negotiations to take longer than this year . . .

    Alas our kind host is wrong. It will take many years and, I bet, the EU will be pushing for the UK to extend the 31st December 2020 deadline, the latest point at which, is 30th June 2020. The EU needs to get any deal past the rEU27 parliaments and the Europarl. No easy task.

    • Robert Bywater
      Posted January 12, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Mark B says: On the 31st January 2020 I want ALL EU fishing vessels out of our territorial waters.

      I agree. Anything else would make a nonsense of sovereignty and b detrimental to the environment.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I had another chat with someone else at HSBC today they are actually blaming the FCA for their new 39.9% (one size fits all regardless of status) interest on personal overdrafts. Perhaps the new BoE chap can explain what on earth the dopes at the FCA are up to and what was their “thinking” on this. How can it be real or fair competition if all the banks have to charge good clients the same as their very poor ones? It is very damaging indeed in effect yet another tax for anyone daft enough to use the facility.

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile the NHS waiting lists get worse and worse (despite the highest taxes for 50 years). When is someone going to be brave enough to tackle the appalling structural problems, the idiotic way it is funded and appalling management of this dire state monopoly?

  14. Fred H
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    The EU continues to play hardball. We must do the same – announce the FTA must be ready by end of July or we walk away.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 10, 2020 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      No, its officials simply abide faithfully by the terms of its widely-published Treaty with its member nations.

      They have little choice.

      • Fred H
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        What would be the punishment?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          The European Union Parliament simply would not approve it, so it would be a waste of everyone’s time.

          There are various sanctions for deliberate wasting of resources, as Farage discovered.

          • Fred H
            Posted January 12, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

            ooooh – we are really frightened.

      • NickC
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Like they did with the Euro. Sure . . .

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

          “The euro will be dead and buried by Christmas 2012” – Nigel Farage.

          • NickC
            Posted January 12, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

            Martin, The sub-topic you introduced was that EU officials simply abide faithfully by the treaties. I gave you an example where they didn’t.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted January 12, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

            The applicant nations were subsequently found to have broken guidelines, not a law.

            If you know better, then please explain.

  15. Robert Eve
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Spot on John.

  16. James Matthews
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Looks like an admirable approach to me. I just hope that HMG will have the resolution to follow it.

  17. Peter Wood
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    Will their lordships throw a spanner into the PM’s bluff and bluster? It seems they’re not impressed with the WAB. Will this mean a raft of amendments, a closer look at the costs of leaving that will be decided on by the EU/ECJ, and nothing we can do about it? (Yes, it really IS all about the money!)
    Lets leave on 31st January without a WA, then we’ll see who is really scared.

  18. Robert Bywater
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    “There is no need for the negotiations to take longer than this year if there is good will on both sides. The UK can show its good will by tabling the proposal soon. If the EU is decent and wants to keep its word all will be well.” Indeed so. Boris says that our plans are “oven ready” but President von der Layen and M. Barnier both declare that the negotiations will take much longer and be difficult for Britain. How do they know that? It’s because they have decided that that will be the case. They want to punish us. That much is clear.

  19. villaking
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, you have tweeted that the Today program was “pressing to give away our fish to the EU”, an absolutely outrageous interpretation of what Today presented. It is this type of statement that fuels the flames of unwarranted accusations of bias from the BBC. Today interviewed a Cornish fisherman who was looking forward to Brexit and said how the fishing agreement had been really bad for his family. We heard from a representative of EU fishermen saying he hoped the agreement would leave fishing quotas as they are now. A representative of Scottish fishermen said she would welcome the significant increase in the amount of fish they would now be able to catch and stressed that it was important to separate the agreement on fishing to any trade agreement. The Today interviewer did ask her, perfectly reasonably, if that might be a little naïve. Facts were presented as to what percentage of fish in our waters we catch, what percentage of what we catch we export to the EU (a lot) and what percentage of fish we consume is imported from the EU (a lot). It was confirmed that perhaps 7x as much fish would be available to UK fishermen if all EU fishermen were prevented from further fishing in our waters. A commentator was asked about the likelihood of a French fishermen’s blockade in the event of damage to their interests and he rated this as very high based on past behaviour, giving examples. So, a balanced picture with all views represented. At no point did Today “press to give away our fish” or express any view at all. You must cease these baseless accusations against the BBC. The negotiation with the EU will not be straightforward and it is a useful public service to examine the potential issues within each sector.

    • hefner
      Posted January 10, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      And that is just an example of the ‘balanced’ view provided every day by the owner of this blog.

    • NickC
      Posted January 11, 2020 at 12:29 am | Permalink

      Villaking, Why is it “a little naïve” to expect that fishing in the UK’s EEZ returns to UK control? Doesn’t every coastal nation have the right to do the same under UNCLoS? The BBC, and you it seems, are so in awe of the EU that you can see nothing wrong in your attitude. I see it as gross bias.

      • villaking
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        You have misunderstood. He asked if it was naive to believe that the EU would agree to separate agreement on fishing from trade talks. Many think it is. We will see.

        • NickC
          Posted January 12, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

          Villaking, UNCLoS states the fishing rights in our EEZ are ours. We don’t need any agreement about that with the EU, separate or otherwise. That’s why the query about naivety is biased.

  20. Shirley
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I agree. Due to the poor economies of some EU countries, the large trading surplus the EU benefit from, the loss of our fishing grounds and the membership money (plus other ‘taxes’) leaves the EU in a precarious position. Boris should use this to the UK’s full advantage. If the EU wants a one sided agreement, then walk away. The UK will still be better off on WTO terms, and will have the freedom to kick start our economy.

    If Boris gives away all our advantages, as May did, he will be history.

  21. Peter
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Lots of ‘trust’ and ‘if’s in this article.

    While many here might welcome the outcome you outline, a cynic might take the view that, provided the idea of Brexit is thought to have been resolved, Boris Johnson will not be unduly bothered by the actual details.

  22. Iain Moore
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    “We need to take back control of our fish.”

    Indeed we do, but to do that we will need more fisheries protection vessels, I haven’t heard of any orders being placed.

  23. Henry Jailer
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    We do not need to accept restrictions and controls on our conduct in order to buy imports from the EU, but we most certainly do need to accept restrictions and controls on our conduct in order to sell exports to the EU. And since almost half of our export trade goes to the EU, they now have us over a barrel. Fish is the first thing Boris will give up to get the free trade deal our economy desperately needs (even though it will be nowhere near as good as the one we have now), and there’ll be plenty more surrender to come. Well done Brexiters, you have weakened Britain. But you’re in charge now. It’s all on your heads now. No one to blame but yourselves

    • NickC
      Posted January 11, 2020 at 12:41 am | Permalink

      Henry, No, the EU does not have us over a barrel. That’s what they thought when they sent Cameron off with a flea in his ear. And look where that got them – Brexit.

      UK exports to the EU were 12.6% of UK GDP 2018 (latest Pink Book, ex Rotterdam). That’s c41% of our total exports, not nearly half. We sold c£265bn to the EU, the EU sold c£357bn to us, or £92bn more. Money matters more than percentages in trade. Do you think the EU will keep making the same mistake?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        Cameron stupidly asked twenty-seven nations to tear up an intricately-negotiated, crucial Treaty.

        There was no alternative but for that request to be refused.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          They other nations should be demanding that too.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        The European Union – its institutions – did not sell that amount.

        Businesses in twenty-seven different countries did.

        Furthermore, those businesses in those countries all still have the other twenty-six nations with whom to trade, plus the rest of the world through existing arrangements with the European Union.

        The UK has neither.

        You mention only goods, I think. There is a surplus the other way in services.

        There are other cash streams too, which you omit, such as returns on investment.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          Interesting logic there Martin.
          So you have numerous European countries who trade with each other.
          Demand for various products is fairly steady.
          Yet you think they can quickly substitute the large volume of sales they currently have in the UK with sales in other countries.
          Have you ever run a company that sells in export markets?
          No is the obvious answer.
          And I can tell because it an take years to develop market share.
          Growth in the EU us slow and companies are not getting big sales growth.
          In terms of vehicles the UK is a very important market for EU car makers.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted January 12, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

            We’ll see, won’t we?

            And if things are not tickety-boo, then no one other than the Government can be blamed now, can they?

          • bill brown
            Posted January 12, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink


            You are absolutely right about export markets, which is why we have to be careful about saying that through other trade agreements we can easily just replace what we export to the Eu overnight

          • Edward2
            Posted January 12, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

            I would blame customers.
            They will be choosing what to buy.
            Not the EU nor the Government.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 13, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

            Who says that?
            Not me.
            I reckon trade between the UK and European nations will carry on pretty much unchanged..

        • NickC
          Posted January 12, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

          Martin said: “You mention only goods, I think.”

          You think wrong, then. The figures I quoted from the Pink book are total exports and imports for both goods and services.

          Cash streams such as dividends etc, are normally omitted from trade figures. You’re not suggesting that the EU would halt primary income are you? That would plunge the global economy into such a crisis it would make Brexit look like a storm in a teacup.

          You’re out of your depth, Martin.

      • acorn
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        After Greenland voted to leave the European Economic Community in 1982, it spent three years negotiating its exit and had to settle for very little change in access rights to its fisheries for European vessels. This example suggests that UK fishermen may yet be in store for more disappointment down the line. Craig McAngus Christopher Huggins, University of Aberdeen.

  24. Ian @Barkham
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Sir John

    To me, in someway the phrase ‘freetrade’ implies the right to trade and not contribute – as in avoid tax in one arena by trading from another. Friction free trade however, were standards are merged or complied with when crossing borders without additional hurdles should be the simple aim.

    On that basis a Country being open to trade is just that, reciprocal and mutually equal understandings.

    The EU appears to be suggesting the UK is a special case and has to accept their ‘Rule’ and ‘Laws’ to trade. Bizarre!

    In essence, the logic is we reciprocate – for the EU to have a say in an independent country, that Country should have an equal say in how they make their rules and apply their laws. In the UK’s case that means all EU Laws would have to be approved by the UK Parliament before they could be in acted in the EU.

    How dumb does the EU get…

  25. Garland
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Canada and Japan have an FTA with the EU which does not cover services. That’s no good to us, our economy is mostly services-based. (Strange that you don’t know that). The EU has made clear a deal on services is possible but it will take years, and of course the UK will have to sign up to the EU’s rules, including those on worker rights and the environment. (So what was the point of Brexit?) Brexit myths are hitting the fan, aren’t they, Mr Redwood? You do realise that you are going to be held responsible for all this? I’d be getting a bit nervous in your shoes

    • Edward2
      Posted January 10, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      There is no Single Market for services.
      Odd you don’t know that.
      Service industries provided by the UK will continue to be required by their European customers.
      Do you think the EU will try to block that trade?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        It is one of the Four Pillars of the Single Market.

        You haven’t even got the basics.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          Actually they are called the 4 freedoms.
          It says “the freedom to establish and provide services”

          However the EU has failed to create a single market for services.
          You need to do some research Martin.
          Wrong again.

          • bill brown
            Posted January 12, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2

            There is still some way to go in a totally free service market in the Eu, but I have had no trouble selling professional services in the EU market in the past 30 years,

          • Edward2
            Posted January 12, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

            “Some way to go”……is EU speak for no agreement at all.
            Indeed some of you EU fans say the UK cannot sell services into the EU yet the data shows the opposite just as you do with your statement above.
            Thanks bill.

    • mickc
      Posted January 11, 2020 at 12:42 am | Permalink

      But the UK wasn’t getting a Single Market in services…it was never completed..

      • bill brown
        Posted January 12, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink


        This is exactly what is was trying to explain but it still worked for most of us in practice

    • NickC
      Posted January 11, 2020 at 12:44 am | Permalink

      Garland, The EU’s single market in services is not complete and is beset by problems. As one insurance expert said – before the BBC could shut him up – if you think I can sell my insurance in Paris you don’t know what you’re talking about – or words to that effect.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        Particular problems exist, but the principle remains.

        It works in many areas, but it is a work in progress.

  26. Kenneth
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Yet the BBC keeps broadcasting messages telling us how “difficult” an FTA will be and of the dire consequences of not accepting compliance to free movement and standards.

    Like a stuck record, we’ve heard it all before.

    When will the propagandists give up??

    Time for a subscription-only BBC!

    • margaret howard
      Posted January 10, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      BBC bashing

      YAWN – give it a rest!

  27. Ian @Barkham
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    The WTA rules on trade are used as a basis for trading amongst EU States.

    The EU also states that any country pulling out of the block the withdrawal agreement and the trade agreement will be put in place and agreed at the same time. That is not the same languages as sign the WA and we will talk trade.

    The new interpretation on the EU rule book suggests, their rules are meant for breaking and they (the EU)can not be trusted.

  28. Gareth Warren
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I am happy to include British waters in any FTA as long as we get free access to French and other EU countries farmland.

    Otherwise we should manage it for our own benefit, encouraging fish consumption will be beneficial for UK health too.

  29. Derek Henry
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I trust the UK negotiators

    If only…..

    We will soon find out.

  30. Ian Wragg
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Watch the EU try and sequence the negotiatins so they can access the UK fishing grounds and continue free movement of people.
    They must not fall into Mays trap.
    We are watching.

  31. Peter Miller
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Re fishing rights. The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy continues to be a total disaster.

    In 2017, the EU increased annual sand eel quotas by 550% to 458,000 tonnes with the Danes taking 94% of the catch. The sand eel is at the bottom of the food chain and fishing for them results in a similar tonnage of juvenile fish (cod, haddock etc) being killed.

    In 2020, and in direct consequence, the UK cod quotas have been cut by 50%. We must not negotiate away our fishing rights to rapacious EU fisherman.

  32. Alan Joyce
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    By now I think we know how the EU will negotiate and I think that you do also – after all Monsieur Barnier is leading the negotiations. The UK can table what it wants but before proceeding to wider trade talks the EU will insist on the following being agreed:

    A fishing agreement as close as possible to the present quota system.
    Level playing field guarantees on Workers Rights, Environmental Protection, etc.
    A security partnership and an agreement to co-operate on a range of other issues.

    The EU will try to get what it wants before it will give anything away to the UK in the same way as it did with the withdrawal agreement and the £39 billion.

    It will say the clock is ticking and try to push everything back towards the end of 2020 and hope the pressure will cause the UK government to crack. That is why No-Deal preparations should be restarted immediately and very visibly. It is why the UK must really be prepared to ‘walk away from the table’. And it is why the UK should begin parallel trade negotiations with the USA on 1st February 2020.

    • Pominoz
      Posted January 10, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      Agree entirely.

      As soon as the EU ‘try it on’, Boris must tell them that we are leaving on WTO terms immediately. No waiting until 31st December.

  33. Leaver
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I don’t trust the EU to be decent one little bit, especially over fish. They never have been.

    Unfortunately I don’t trust America to be decent either. Especially over farm produce. I will not stand for our farmers being wiped out by cheap American imports.

    I fear we will end up tethered to EU regulation whether we like it or not – and we will throw our fishermen under a bus.

  34. Ian @Barkham
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    If the MsM is to believed, one the EU’s trade concerns once we leave is with so-called ‘dumping’.

    Giving that the CAP is a massive taxpayer funded mechanism that permits the EU to dump product on the World and distort World trade which means undermining other Countries home markets. That is in its self is weaponizing trade.

    Would the EU give up the CAP?

  35. Nig l
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Yes. The sounds coming from the EU side is that we mustn’t diverge. Of course we mustn’t in their eyes because it would mean competition and they want to muzzle us.

    One of the reasons I voted to leave is precisely because I want us to compete. Competition keeps you sharp, continuing to innovate/invest, offers rewards fior effort etc

    No competition makes you lazy and inefficient.

    Can you imagine playing a football match when you agree not to score so the other side doesn’t lose.

    It is mentioned in the press the ERG will be meeting shortly to discuss its future. That must be to continue to hold the Government to account/prevent back sliding.

    • Andy
      Posted January 10, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      You mean you voted for others to compete? Because, like most of the contributors here, you are retired. So workers rights – the easiest place to compete – do not affect you because you don’t work.

      So how about we make you compete too? Perhaps pensions and old age perks should not be paid automatically. Perhaps we should make you all compete for them? No competition makes you lazy and inefficient.

      So what is it you want to take away? Holiday pay? Maternity pay? Parternity or parental leave? Health and safety rules? Working hours?

      • Edward2
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Compare the standards of living in East Germany and West Germany when the Berlin Wall came down, if you want an example of what happens when a protectionist bloc tries to avoid competing.
        The best pensions and rights for citizens were in the open democratic West
        Protectionist socialist policies lead to poverty for young and old alike.

      • NickC
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        Andy, The EU is frightened of UK competition – they’ve said so. You’re obviously a bit out of touch.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          What, all four hundred and fifty million of them?


          • NickC
            Posted January 12, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

            Martin, 450m of what? I said the EU – which is a corrupt oligarchy acting as a rent-seeker.

      • Fred H
        Posted January 11, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Andy – -the state pension I get is a direct result of me paying into the fund for approx 48 years -I think I’m entitled.
        The larger pension is a result of combining several employer pension schemes (part employer funded, larger part myself (money my family would have benefited from like foreign holidays) -again wise investment for these remaining years. My children will benefit from how it is invested.
        I also maintain a reasonable amount liquid for when my roof falls in, foreign holidays, once in a blue moon new car).
        Do the same and you will resent the snide childish envy you daily repeat. Please offer some other subject for us to debate.

        • Pominoz
          Posted January 11, 2020 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

          Fred H,

          As I think you told me – you are wasting your breath.

          If ‘old’ in Andy’s posts was replaced with ‘black’, ‘Muslim’ or ‘gay’ there would be an outrage. Us ‘oldies’ are expected to accept the vitriol – and we can, simply because we know we have worked diligently and prudently all our lives, paying not only for our retirement, but also funding those of earlier generations in the same way that Andy says should now cease so that he and his kids can benefit now.

          I suspect this will not pass moderation.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 11, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      The Government’s majority is larger than the active membership of the ERG.

      Like the DUP, it no longer holds sway.

  36. Andy
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    2020 in three timelines:

    January – Yay. We hold all the cards!
    March – What do you mean they’re your demands? Outrageous we can’t accept.
    July – We won’t accept. We’ll walk away.
    August – November – IT’S NOT FAIR (epic tantrum)
    December – Where do we sign? What else can we give you?

    January – What are your demands?
    March – Actually forgetter your demands. This is what you can have.
    July – We have told you what you can have. Take it or leave it.
    August-November – We know you have to take it. Sign when you’re ready.
    December – Thanks for signing. Sure – pretend you won but it is clearly game, set and match to us.

    January – November – face palm.
    December – told you so.

    • Richard1
      Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      We remember your two predictions of recent years:-

      1. The Tories would be wiped out at the election (you started to backtrack on this once Boris got chosen though!) &

      2. The EU would never reopen the WA and would insist on the Irish backstop so in effect trapping the UK in the CU. That’s now gone and continuity remain are again shroud waving about ‘no deal’

      It’s always reassuring to read your predictions!

    • NickC
      Posted January 11, 2020 at 12:49 am | Permalink

      Andy, You still haven’t told us why you think the UK cannot be independent of the EU. And with an EU such as you describe, who needs enemies?

      • bill brown
        Posted January 12, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink


        All nations in the EU wold like to make the best deal possible for the UK as it benefits them as well, stop this enemy nonsense

  37. Ian @Barkham
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    It is stated that the EU is demanding that for the UK to trade with them there must be safe guards on citizens rights. Read between the lines, what is being said is the UK must be administered by the ECJ.

    Before the EU, citizens rights in the UK were far in advance of what they the EU had in place. English Law doesn’t confer rights, it only takes them away by democratic means – which being a democratic act can be amended by the People at any time. In the EU you have no rights unless you are explicitly given them, but without the democratic scrutiny.

    British Standards, products, safety and testing before the EU were higher that the EU norm. The UK had to lower its standards as instructed to comply!

    In general the UK has benefits, employment laws, min wage, health and so on well ahead of that offered in other EU States. Are the EU going to level up? As intended by further integration it wont be the EU coming up to UK levels, but the UK dumbing down.

    The EU is throwing things around to muddy the waters to try and maintain control over and make the UK subservient too its Rulers. Just as they are playing a similar card with Switzerland.

    To much is made about to little. Yes important littles, but they are replaceable on the trading front. It is time for the EU to grow-up they either want to be part of the grown up World or withdrew further into their isolationist domain.

    The People of the UK have decided on a self governing democracy, may be it will long haul for our Parliamentarians and the Establishment to recognize that. But, under the EU yoke it can never happen.

    • bill brown
      Posted January 12, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink


      If you compare our UK legislation with employment law in Denmark I am afraid I do not share your overall conclusions about Uk dumping down, but you obviously have insights that the rest of do not have.

  38. The Prangwizard
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    All this is of course true. Sadly I do not have confidence that the government will stand firm. The PM in the person of Mr Johnson is far too keen on compromise and I can see much of this being sacrificed to get a deal before the end of the year.

    The EU has already positioned itself as an unwilling participant. Boris is a blusterer and he will be shown to be weak.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 11, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Come on. He if gets something like a Norway arrangement then life will go on as normal for most ordinary people, with few job losses, usual holiday arrangements etc.

      A second term would be on the cards for him then, and somehow I think that might just be the overriding concern.

  39. Ian
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    You are so right why are we even listening to those people, in my opinion they have no cards at all, anyone bothering to listen to there nonsense.
    What business could carry on like this , the hell with them ,we have not got time for them.
    Boris and you , no nonsense they need us more than we need them.
    Now that that NO DEAl is back on.
    Sorry just get the hell out, nothing what ever to fear, they are desperate to sell stuff to us, well from now on we will be on the same terms as the US, the Hell with them, come on there is nothing what ever to discuss, they must stand on there own feet

  40. cynic
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    A deal on Trade should, as you say, be straightforward. It is the invisibles: finance and services that are likely to be more difficult to get agreement on. There will be pressure on the Government to give ground elsewhere to get a settlement that the City approves of.

  41. Richard1
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    The other key principle – which I hope the Boris govt sticks to – is the EU one that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. By all means start by talking about reciprocal access to fishing rights and tariff free trade on goods if that’s what the EU wants to do. But make clear that any final agreement on them depends on full mutual recognition based agreement on services etc.

    Good to see Mark Carney saying clearly that the U.K. should absolutely not outsource financial regulation to another jurisdiction – ie the EU.

    I see the EU are now defining ‘dumping’ to mean not following EU stipulations on tax as they might be announced. Have Canada and Japan accepted this? Was the US planning to do so when the TTIP was under discussion?

  42. glen cullen
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    And in the meantime we have to wait 1+ years under the control of the EU while they…. (they) decide if we can have an FTA

  43. Doug Powell
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    SJ …. “There is no need for the negotiations to take longer than this year if there is good will on both sides.” – Aye, there’s the rub!

    The leader of the EU and sidekick were chez Boris on Wednesday, seemingly getting their objections to ANY completion of a Free Trade Deal By the end of December 2020 in early! Also, she seemed to be demanding a pound of fish for the EU!

    History has taught us that the EU cannot be trusted to even attempt to meet a deadline; it will be the same old ‘extend and pretend,’ ‘extend and pretend’…. ad infinitum!

    So, let us take them at their word and say “Well, as you say a deal is impossible by the end of 2020, “we might as well stop the ‘negotiating charade’ now, save time and move directly to the WTO option on February 1st!

    • Doug Powell
      Posted January 10, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      A Post Script to the above:

      Scenario: A prominent member of the EU negotiating team comes to this country, attends a ‘Remoaner’ Party Conference and cavorts about on stage wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “Bollocks to Brexit.” That action tells us all we need to know about the sincerity and impartiality of the way the EU conducts its negotiations! Hardly a recipe for good will, trust and confidence in any future negotiations?

      Team Boris is within in its rights to refuse to take part in discussions if this person is involved! No lawyer would accept a person who had stated those views to be a member of a jury!

  44. Nigel
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    We should table our proposals first so that we drive the agenda, not like last time when they dictated to sequence of discussions.

  45. Billy Elliott
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Well it took six years for EU to negotiate adeal with Japan and was it now seven years with Canada….maybe they are able to speed it u but I doubt.

  46. NickC
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Indeed you are right, any trade deal should be based on trade for trade, not trade for EU control over us.

    The problem is we have had nearly half a century of Sir Humphrey cosying up to his bureaucratic colleagues over the water. And he is the one actually doing the negotiating, not Boris Johnson, and he – like the Remain commenters on here – seem incapable of accepting self-governance. So no, I do not “trust the UK negotiators will table a draft FTA based on the best of Japan and Canada”.

    Not least because our new government pretends we will be out of the EU come 1 Feb 2020 when in fact we shall only have abrogated the existing treaties.

  47. agricola
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely correct, trade should be ring fenced and unconditional upon anything else. They should also know what an FTA looks like because they already have one with the UK. One that is encumbered with numerous conditions that detract from it being a true FTA. Strip it of these encumbrances and you have a true FTA.

    I hope that on 31st January 2020 we become a sovereign state with 200 mile territorial waters or to a median line with our neighbours. The conservation of these waters, fishing within them and who we might invite under our conditions to fish them is an entirely separate unrelated matter to trade.

    Quite separately we need to negotiate a financial services agreement based on best practice. This too is of great advantage to the EU, they need the financial support.

    Finally, all those subjects that do not fit in any of the above categories, like citizens rights and health care should be written into a treaty under the Vienna Convention.

    Should the EU fail to see the advantage of an FTA then the default position is trading under WTO terms and no cash heading towards EU coffers. If they choose to obfuscate I would bring forward the date of reversion to WTO rules to September 2020. All the above negotiation can progress separately and in parallel. None of them conditional upon any of the other, but all to be completed before the cut off date. No deal until we have a complete deal.

  48. Original Richard
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    We do not need to pay for trade or accept restrictions when the EU has a £100bn/YEAR trading surplus with us.

  49. what tiler
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Goodwill, on both sides, and a decent EU.

    Best of luck with that.

  50. 'None of the above'.
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Well said Sir John.
    I hope that this time around that we show up with people who actually know how to negotiate a trade deal and, more importantly, want to do so in the national interest.

  51. Edward2
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Completely agree Sur John.
    Free trade will benefit consumers and reveal just how protectionist the EU is.

    The Single Market reminds me of East Germany of the 60s and 70s with its tariffs, rules, regulations, directives and restrictions.

    Whilst a reasonably free market like West Germany left them behind with greater growth and far far higher standards of living.

  52. Pominoz
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    It is all so blatantly obvious, precisely as you outline. Which begs the question – why did the previous PM and her ‘team’ make it so complicated? I think we all know the answer.

    Hopefully you are able to influence, if not participate in, the next round of negotiations.

  53. Lucas
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Some points- the EU is not about decency but hard nosed business. Secondly when talks kick off it will be very quickly seen that ‘good will’ won’t amount for much- with civilities out of the way it will be tough negotiations. The more we diverge from what we have at the present time the harder it will be to get the lasting agreement you seem to want and lastly we did not vote for a FTA with them we just voted to leave- Fish will be on the table just the same as ‘free movement’ and everything else there will be no sacred cows- there will be no ‘no-go areas’ makes me wonder what exactly is going to change in all of this and why did we even bother in the first place

  54. Mark B
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    So you deleted my post.

    Short, on topic but, I chose to point out a few things that are public knowledge and have been spoken of here before. It seems you do not like being told the truth. But deleting a post does not make the problem disappear, you are still have to face people when they realise they have been sold out which, judging by some of the posts already, seems to be the case.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 11, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      What topic?

  55. Mark B
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Apologies, it just came up on a refresh. Please delete.

  56. rose
    Posted January 10, 2020 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Very good clear instructions. Let us hope they heed them.

  57. bill brown
    Posted January 12, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR

    This is much more complicated as we want it to comprise, security, financial services, data exchange, fishery and services as well, so presenting it as you have done does in my view not actually reflect the reality and the hurdles we have to negotiate

  58. Barry Young
    Posted January 12, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Our trade with the EU is diminishing by the month and once we are free to agree on free trade deals with other countries it will diminish even faster. I don’t see it as a major problem.

    • bill brown
      Posted January 12, 2020 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Barry young,

      This is a very interesting perspective. But if had been involved in trade and exports for years, you would know how long it takes to build up new markets and as the Eu is our most significant trading partner, new markets will take a long time. Just because the potential proportion of exports and imports from the Eu declines, it does not mean that the overall volume of trade declines as trade has grown every year for many years.

      I therefore do not share your point of view

  59. Barry Young
    Posted January 12, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    WTO rules will be fine. I doubt it would take long before the EU comes knocking on the door to restart negotiations.

    • bill brown
      Posted January 12, 2020 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Barry Young

      I am sorry I do not share that view or optimism having traded with the EU for years

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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