Brexit negotiations

There is still more commentary and idle speculation about Brexit than I would like, whilst what we need is to pin down the EU on whether they want a deal or not. The more the opposition, business and some in the media argue on about what the UK position should be, the more likely it is the EU will delay and avoid engagement in the hope that the UK will give more ground.

This is, however, a very dangerous strategy for the EU. The more they reject sensible approaches by the UK, the more UK opinion will harden against them and in favour of simply leaving. If the EU delays talks about trade for too long, they reach the point of no return where they will run out of time to prevent the imposition of tariff and other barriers on Danish bacon, French dairy products, Dutch vegetables and Irish beef. At some point they will need to respond positively to the UK offers on trade if they wish to retain full tariff free access to the UK market.

The EU has some strange negotiating aims, and one understandable one. They seem to think the European Court of Justice should still decide cases affecting the UK. They have missed the point that when we become an independent country again the UK Supreme Court is the ultimate appeal court for UK based matters, just as the ECJ will remain as the ultimate appeal court for EU based issues. So an EU citizen legally settled in the UK will come under our jurisdiction for their rights in the UK, just as surely as a UK citizen living on the continent will continue to fall under ECJ jurisdiction on matters surrounding their rights. Trade disputes will be resolved by the usual international methods, as they are today between the EU and Australia or the USA. This does not entail Australia accepting ultimate ECJ authority. There are WTO procedures for adjudications of trade disputes.

They seek to think the UK should stay wedded to EU laws as they evolve. Again this is not something other countries have to do just to stay trading with the EU. Of course if the EU wishes to impose requirements on products and services they are importing they may do so, as long as these are the same conditions for the whole world, and are not a restraint on trade as defined by the WTO. It will be a matter of future negotiation and UK choice how far we go in matching or adopting standards and rules the EU imposes for the rest of our trade. The UK will regain its voice and vote on a number of global standards bodies where we may be able to help create global standards that are good and drive more trade.

They seem to think the legal settlement of someone in the UK under current rules should allow them to pre-empt any future UK migration policy. Most of us want there to be a fair policy after exit that offers the same rights to EU and non EU arrivals.

The issue I understand but reject is their belief that we should go on paying after we have left. This would clearly be helpful from their point of view. There is no legal basis whatsoever for any such payments. The UK did not receive a bonus or downpayment when we joined the EU to reflect liabilities they had all built up before our joining, so why should we pay them for future liabilities. Once we have left we get no benefit of the spending so we should not be contributing to the spending.

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  1. Tasman
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    You write: “if the EU wishes to impose requirements on products and services they are importing they may do so, as long as these are the same conditions for the whole world, and are not a restraint on trade as defined by the WTO”. And yet, right now, the EU may not impose such conditions on our exports, thanks to the single market. Your “plan” is to throw away that huge economic advantage, and accept new and serious restraints on almost half of the UK’s export trade, at a loss of many thousands of British jobs. It is grossly irresponsible of you.

    Reply There are many advantages of leaving

    • David Cockburn
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      The EU could indeed choose to impose conditions on our exports if they are prepared to accept our imposition of the same restraints on their larger exports to us, but they are not obliged to do so and will not, if they know what’s good for them.

      • Al
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        What if the EU prioritises damaging the UK over all else?
        (This appears to be it’s fallback position).

        What would be the damage to the UK?
        There are reports that air travel would be massively impacted ( will Heathrow remain such a significant hub airport?), and also that key industry systems won’t be available ( e.g. farm subsidy payments (the government is woeful when it comes to it systems and there is no way a replacement could be stood up in time – would agriculture grind to a halt?).

        Leavers say it will all be fine, remainers say it will fail catastrophically.

        I think we need to understand what leaving without an agreement in place and with EU as hostile as possible to UK looks like. ( Even if individual countries are accommodating).

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      Nonsense, define your ‘huge economic advantage’ in monetary terms. You seem to be in the know too, so what are these ‘new and serious restraints’ which your beloved and sea green incorruptible EU will impose in line with WTO rules….. they are in line with WTO rules aren’t they? Or are they not? Would they be prepared to face reciprocal action and lose out by a factor of two to one in tariffs? Remember if the EU want tariff free access to UK markets, they better start being smart. How do you say ‘ze clock is ticking’…. 🙂


      • Helen
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Non tariff barriers. Go learn about them, and grow up

        • zorro
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          It’s noted that you didn’t answer the points raised. Please try harder…. I can assure that I don’t need to grow up anymore, and understand about non tariff barriers as I have explained on this site previously…. But one thing is sure….’ze clock is ticking’ for Monsieur Barnier when he goes back empty handed to his masters 😉…..


    • Duncan
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:19 am | Permalink


      You make an egregious assumption that by leaving the EU we subject ourselves to a loss of economic output. This is simply nonsense. When we do the leave the EU we will become far more competitive as the UK economy morphs and flexes to accommodate the change.

      In the last 12 months since the EU referendum over 60% of all foreign direct investment into the EU as come to the UK. Yes, that’s 60%.

      When we leave the EU, the UK will become even more a magnet for foreign investment as we represent a low cost, flexible, developed economy.

      Current employment levels in the UK are at their lowest since the mid 70’s. Greece is a member of the EU and so is France. Unemployment in these 2 nations are far in excess of our levels of unemployment. It seems being a member of the EU is not a guarantee of economic success.

      The EU is a POLITICAL arrangement. An economy grows according to a very different set of parameters away from politics.

      We will leave the EU. We will cut taxes and we will increase our GDP through a greater trading relationship with the rest of the world

      The current managed trading relationship with the EU is a farce, almost a quid pro quo trading relationship and all designed around the needs of the German economy

      The UK has the upper hand and the Germans (or the EU which are interchangeable) understand this. They must accept we are leaving and bend to changing circumstances

    • agricola
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      In this situation, what the UK collects in duty on EU goods could be used to compensate UK exporters for duties they have to pay on their goods going to the EU. The balance of this trade is such that the money should be there to do it.

    • David Price
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      I struggle to understand how our economic relationship with the EU is “hugely” to our advantage when the EU 27 don’t buy more in goods and services from us than we buy from them, on top of the free fish and increasing trade levy we have to pay the EU every year.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        And the jobs that we provide for their citizens resident in the UK, on top of the jobs that we support elsewhere in the EU … if it was the other way around, if we were exporting far more to them than they were exporting to us, and/0r there were far more UK citizens working in their countries than their citizens earning their livings here, and if as well as that we were getting subsidies from them rather than indirectly subsidising them, there might then be scope for EU supporters to start talking honestly about its economic benefits.

      • nigel seymour
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Well said. And so the negotiations will go on and on and on until something occurs that is “Brexit” significant. This may well be around end Dec this year but who knows? I have a regard for Prof Minford who often makes mince meat of remain commentators and quite simply suggests that if we don’t impose tariffs on EU imports then UK consumers will benefit through lower prices…

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      That “huge economic advantage” which ensures that we can trade successfully and even run a trade surplus to the benefit of our economy. On, no, hold on, it turns out that the “huge economic advantage” is to them not to us, as we chronically run a massive trade deficit with them … on the other hand we not only manage to trade with the US we run a trade surplus, and without paying any fee for market access or anything else and without the judges on the US Federal Supreme Court telling us how we must run our country, even now to how we run our health service.

      I’m sick to death of hearing these deliberate falsehoods about the “huge economic advantage” of our EU membership, Tasman, you and others should try to summon up enough honesty to admit the truth.

    • Terry
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      I have told you 50 billion times not to exaggerate.
      We do not have any “Huge economic advantage” in the EU. Quite the contrary as our exports to them have been falling year on year while those to the rest of the world have been rising year on year.
      If anyone has a’huge economic advantage’ it is the EU itself because we buy £70 Billions more from them than they do from us.
      With WTO tariffs applied, they will be paying us £Billions more than we pay them.
      And the money we gain from them can be passed to our EU exporters to offset the EU tariffs applied to them. Simple. You do the maths.

    • Original Richard
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      What “huge economic advantage” ?

      A net contribution of £10bn/year to access a market and which will increase as the EU expands, whereas most countries are permanent recipients ?

      The loss of the UK’s valuable fishing grounds ?

      A trading deficit of £80bn/year showing the SM is not working for the UK ?

      £7bn/year in welfare payments given to EU citizens living in the UK ?

      £6.6bn to bail out Portugal and Ireland ?

      £32bn given to the European Investment Bank ?

      £1bn given to the European Central Bank ?

      Whilst our national debt grows and grows.

  2. Liam
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    John, I don’t see the problem. You told us that German carmakers would be lobbying their government to make sure the UK got a really good deal, because they want to keep selling us cars. That is happening, isn’t it?

    Reply Yes

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      Liam, have you ever seen a duck’s legs under water?


    • hefner
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      About the German cars problem: Most of them are luxury cars, many drivers who can afford an Audi, Mercedes, or Porsche won’t be put off by a 10% price hike (that’s a status marker). Furthermore a non-negligible number of those are company cars.
      So I would think the usual argument with the German cars is a bit weak.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        We could introduce quotas

  3. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Any chance of Canada overtaking the UK? After all it will have a comprehensive trade EU deal in March 2019 whereas the UK will just have started this arduous process. To avoid that the UK might opt for an more off the shelf Norway model option for the next five or ten years and negotiate an even better deal. (not yet politically acceptable but today is 2017) The independence from EJC is already shown in EFTA arrangements and could be copied for the time being.

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      Firstly, we don’t need a comprehensive free trade deal to trade effectively with the EU. Secondly, there is no reason on earth why it needs to be arduous except because of the EU’s intransigence and bad faith. We have free trade already, and common standards. We just want back control of our law, money and borders (no more free movement). Peter, don’t always make things complicated, simplicity can be a beautiful thing….


      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        @zorro: you have free trade by virtue of being a full member of the single market, and now you’re leaving and will be a third country again (like Pakistan or Australia). The EU has experience and knows that a trade deal costs time to mutually achieve. The UK has virtually no experience and is flying kites, avoiding realisation of the many details involved.

        • zorro
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

          The UK has plenty of inherent experience of how to deal with other countries. Other ‘huge’ countries like Chile, Switzerland, Taiwan and Singapore manage to strike FTAs around the world quickly and efficiently, unlike the EU diplodocus. Thankfully, I believe in my country unlike you.


        • Timaction
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          …..The UK has virtually no experience…… Really?? We have been a member of this political construction since 1972. How did we manage to trade for all the thousands of years before our forced membership? £10 billion net contribution for a £77 billion trade deficit, £30 billions with Germany alone and several billions with the Netherlands also. How many jobs will be at risk in the EU if you continue to annoy and meddle with trade. Trade and friendship, nothing more, we’ve given enough for you! You may also want to consider our continuing support in all other matters where we are net contributors e.g. security.

        • Terry
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

          I cannot believe you can be so naive. A Third World Country like Australia (they’ll love that) just because we leave that decrepit business debilitating, bloated, bureaucracy the EU??
          The EU benefits far more from the zero tariff than do we Brits. Check the figures.

    • sm
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      What may well suit Norway, with its population of 5 million, is unlikely to suit the UK, with its vastly bigger economy and population of 66 million.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        Norway of course has a massive trade surplus with the EU which is why it finds it beneficial to contribute to the EU funds. We on the other hand have a massive deficit so logic says they should be paying us to trade.
        It’s getting increasingly obvious the EU doesn’t want a deal as it represents a massive blow to their ego.
        Poor old Britain having the temerity to rock the EU gravy train.
        Just walk away.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          Maybe we should refuse to go any further with negotiations until they say how much they are prepared to pay for access to our market … I once heard an MP suggest that they should be paying us, and other MPs seemed to think that this was a joke. Why? Because they are still in the habit of constantly kowtowing to the EU, that’s why.

        • turboterrier
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          @ Ian Wragg

          Poor old Britain having the temerity to rock the EU gravy train.
          Just walk away.

          Bang on the money

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        @sm: it would be meant to be a temporary phase, while both sides give themselves time to work out the best deal possible which fits the specific UK conditions and policies. The UK is trying to suggest that it is all very simple, but the EU won’t fall for that.

    • David Price
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Why is the EU risking the loss of zero tariff access to the lucrative UK market?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        @David Price: Besides this being a current kite some brexiteers are flying, not an official negotiation proposal (which couldn’t be discussed anyway before the phase of negotiating future trade relations will commence), the EU may simply have no choice. E.g. you apparently will close your steel factories as to let China provide you with its 0%-tariff steel. The EU is no jungle economy and would want to protect its steel workers in as much as providing a level playing field for fair competition. We may not want that Chinese dumped steel to come to us via the UK.

        • Timaction
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          You sound like a bully, telling us what we will do and when. Negotiation is a two way street or you can take your trade deficit and net massive bills and whistle. The EU are trying the same tactics now. It will not work out well for you.

        • Simon
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          So you admit the EU is really about protectionism not trade?

        • graham1946
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          Whether or not there are zero tariffs, there is still the option on anti-dumping duties which is well recognised. It used to be used before the wretched EU came along and being independent we could use them again. The EU made us take in Chinese steel at the cost of our factories.

        • David Price
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          What kite? You and the euphilics keep saying we are shutting ourselves out of the EU free market (apparently before negotiations have started) so obviously the reverse must also be true, that the EU would no longer have free and fullest access to the UK market. Why is that so difficult to understand and accept?

          If we end up not having mutual recognition of approval bodies then it also means that we could not simply accept the EU’s assertion as to the quality or source of it’s goods either.

    • Nig l
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      On the day of our vote to leave I was in the Basque Country speaking to them and some Norwegians. The Basques were very envious and the Norwegians told me in no uncertain terms that as far as they were concerned, they might as well be full members of the EU. As one of them put it. When Brussels says jump the Norwegians say ‘how high?

      goodbye Peter.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        @Nig l: Goodbye Nig.

      • hefner
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        There is a nice little chapter simply called “Norway” in “Brexit”, by Ian Dunt, Canbury Press, 2016. Do not let yourself be (badly) impressed by the Introduction, a bit too Remainer in tone. The rest of the book is full of information about what might or not happen, and why and how.
        I found the information very detailed and up-to-date and rather neutral in discussing the dis/advantages of various potential solutions. The chapter on the WTO, the UK links to WTO, and the procedure (“the schedules”) to be followed is very interesting, and goes much further than the usual comments written here, there and everywhere.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          In my eyes he is an enemy of his own country. Last June 16.1 million people came down of the Remain side; almost all of them are perfectly decent people who just formed the wrong judgment, but there are a small minority who are motivated by disloyalty.

          • hefner
            Posted August 23, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

            I do not want to be disagreeable, but what has your answer to do with my comment?
            Mr Dunt is/might be/might have been a Remainer. All the same, what he points out seems very likely to be relevant to the transition to whatever trade status the UK will have after March’19 or after.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 23, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

            My point is that Mr Dunt is not just somebody who decided to vote to stay in the EU.

    • graham1946
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Canada overtaking the UK? In what way? With half our population and being thousands of miles away is it likely? The UK already has a trade deal with the EU and it just requires you to say it will continue.

      How much will Canada pay each year for their deal? Will they be subject to EU Courts?
      If ‘nothing’ and ‘no’ why should the UK be any different, other than we have bankrolled you for 40 odd years and you don’t fancy standing on your own feet?

      No deal suits us fine if that’s what you really want.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        @graham1946: All the EU is stating is that any deal takes time (5 to 10 years is not unreasonable, based on current practice)

        • Timaction
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          As we’re subject to all the rules and vast regulations until we thankfully leave in March 2019, what’s different the day after? Same rules to trade with the EU, but we can now trade with the rest of the world on their’s and our own terms. You will have nothing to do with the the 92% and rising UK economy that will no longer be subject to the EU jackboot! Our laws and yours will diverge over time as we become a free and sovereign Nation once more, whilst Holland is subsumed into the EU superstate with no democratic voice. Ukraine referendum result on free movement ignored!
          Goodbye Peter Van EU and good luck with those eggs!

        • Terry
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          Yep it takes all that time and some. All because they have to obtain the agreement of ALL 27 Nations and probably their local councils as well, before any deal can be done.
          They are a basket case for business and trade. They are total protectionists at heart so inhibit National growth and will never change.
          We can do a deal with the old Commonwealth within months as we have dealt with them as an independent in the past. How do you think we grew and managed an Empire? And the USA deal will be ditto. There’s 2 Billion new customers and cheap suppliers right away. Our food costs will drop way below EU prices and Agricultural products to the UK from there will fall dramatically. How many jobs will that cost?
          The EU are dead in the water pal and once German exports fall back they will be looking for their coffin and creating their own Leave campaign.

        • graham1946
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          We already have a deal. No 5-10 years. We have 40 odd years already behind us. The only fly in the ointment is your lot being childish.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        In reality that EU-Canada trade deal is economically insignificant for both sides, but especially for the EU and then in particular for the UK.

        The EU Commission doesn’t like to come out and say that openly, but that is what their numbers say:

        It is also what the UK government knows to be true:

        “Economic modelling has estimated the deal to be worth … £1.3 billion to the British economy in the long run.”

        £1.3 billion divided by £1940 billion, UK GDP in 2016:

        comes to a negligibly small 0.07% “boost” for our economy.

        Maybe the most interesting analysis is here:

        “The “green light” for the European Commission to negotiate a new trade deal with Canada was formally given in April 2009. As the press release pointed out, before they decided to engage in negotiations, the EU and Canada agreed in 2007 to conduct a joint study into the likely economic benefits. Here’s the key result from that study, which was published in October 2008:

        The annual real income gain by the year 2014, compared to the baseline scenario, would be approximately €11.6 billion for the EU (representing 0.08 percent of EU GDP), and approximately €8.2 billion for Canada (representing 0.77 percent of Canadian GDP). Total EU exports to Canada go up by 24.3 percent or €17 billion by 2014 while Canadian bilateral exports to the EU go up by 20.6 percent or €8.6 billion by 2014.

        The methodology used for the study is the same as that employed for a later report on TTIP. As Ars pointed out last year, the GDP growth figures generally bandied around by supporters of TTIP are misleading: they quote what could be the ultimate boost to the GDP levels many years down the line. In the case of TTIP, the best-case GDP boost scenario—0.5 percent—would only arrive after 10 years, and only represents an extra GDP growth of just 0.05 percent per year on average.

        For CETA, this figure is even smaller: the 0.08 percent boost to GDP quoted above would be seen after seven years of having the trade deal in place. This means that CETA is expected to increase the EU’s GDP growth by a little over 0.01 percent per year—a vanishingly small amount completely eclipsed by uncertainties in the econometric modelling.”

        Back in 2008, when the vast majority of people assumed that trade deals were deeply boring, and would have little impact on their daily lives, the European Commission could ignore the minimal benefits of CETA, and proceed anyway. The talks were formally launched in May 2009, when the EU trade commissioner Catherine Ashton proclaimed: “a comprehensive economic and trade agreement between the European Union and Canada will boost the two economies as the world recovers from economic recession.”

        In fact the likely gains would be “minuscule”.

        This is why I remain cautious about how much can really be achieved by Liam Fox’s department; I do not expect the total economic gains from the UK’s new trade deals to be enormous; they may well outweigh any small losses we take from new impediments to trade with the EU, but I doubt that it will be the kind of cornucopia some suggest.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      PvL–How can “Overtaking” be anything like the appropriate word given that the Canadians have been going at it for years and we haven’t even started. Some race! Maybe you mean they might ‘get there first’ but they would wouldn’t they.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        @Leslie Singleton: Very simple – in March 2019, you’ll both be third countries. With Canada we’ll have a comprehensive deal (CETA), with the UK we’ll be in the early stages of negotiating one, assuming the UK want a trade deal as well.
        Last week saw that Dutch exports rose (annually) by 11% with the exception of Dutch exports to the UK which went down due to the lower priced pound, it was reported. If we factor in that the Dutch coped reasonably well with the overnight Russian boycott of its fruits and vegetables (after post Crimea EU sanctions), I could imagine that the Dutch will be agile, nimble and creative enough to make up for lost trade with the UK. Obviously still speculation at this moment in time.

        Reply So why doesn’t the Dutch government demand full agricultural tariffs on their trade with us and vice versa then?

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply: As an EU and thus a single market member, such negotiations have long been delegated to the European Commission. National parliaments and governments only become involved in more comprehensive treaties (e.g. CETA).
          Acting as one EU makes us stronger in negotiations. Interestingly, the Norway model would make you (the UK) stronger. E.g. I remember Norway nearly quadrupling tariffs on imported cheeses such as Gouda and cheddar (2013 or 2014) to protect its producers. That matter is now solved (2017).

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          PvL–Like I say, some race, especially as in a very short time we really will overtake a lead that has no meaning–or rather such meaning as there is simply reflects starting sooner not to mention the very long time that the EU (and only the EU) always takes in these matters–Just wait till the UK and Canada get going–Clean pair of heels comes to mind

        • Mockbeggar
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          Just don’t sell us your sausages and eggs.

        • ian wragg
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

          It’s interesting that now it is becoming blindingly obvious that the Brussels Emperor has no clothes, PvL is blogging the official Brussels line like crazy.
          All your propaganda peter over the past 2 years has been staggeringly wrong but you still push the same drivel.

        • Helen
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

          Incredible – Redwood doesn’t even know EU states do not do bilateral deals!

          Reply They do where the EU does not claim exclusive competence. On free trade they do not as that is an exclusive competence.

    • R. De Witt Jansen
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      PVL: how we proceed is a matter for British Nationals to discuss and decide and has absolutely NOTHING to do with Foreign Nationals. Concentrate your mind on alternative markets for your Daffs, suspect eggs and more importantly where your fishing grounds will be once we have left in 2019. Good luck to you.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        @R. De Witt Jansen: I can appreciate that in your rather divided state as UK, you need more time for internal discussions (fights?) in order to know how to proceed.
        We (the EU27) appear to be ready when you are. It is a pity though, that this internal confusion has already consumed considerable time. Big Ben may be silent, but the negotiation clock is ticking.

      • graham1946
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        You might well add dodgy pork to that as well.

    • Robin Wilcox
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      We have managed to trade with the rest of theworld for many years on WTO terms. I cannot remember anyone claiming it was so difficult to do business with the likes of the USA because of this.
      We don’t need a trade deal with the EU if it means paying them for the privelige of a trade deficit or having to put up with their political interference.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        @Robin Wilcox: it is certainly a serious option. Even then, a smooth transition to the new situation might be advisable.

        • Sir Joe Soap
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

          No. What do you hope to achieve in this “transition” phase? I’d rather lose the 40pc tariffs on third country (NZetc) imports of dairy products immediately. That’s what we voted for 24 months ago. How long do you think we should wait?

          • Sir Joe Soap
            Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

            14 months typo bit still too long

  4. James Wallace-Dunlop
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Your point about the financial arrangements when the UK joined is a great one, and I have been amazed that this has not been part of the public debate so far.

    When it comes to things like off balance shee pension liabilities, the numbers had become much bigger by the time that former soviet states from central and Eastern Europe joined. Their budget contributions have not been adjusted to reflect the portion of the budget devoted to historic liabilities, nor have they received a capital payment to compensate for the liabilities that they are taking on by joining.

    The EU chooses to run its pension policy on ‘chain letter’ rather than an actuarial accounting basis. This allows it to understate its staff costs, and to saddle new members with the bill for past spending choices. It is not an accident, but a deliberate policy that suits the EU and was designed by people who thought the EU would only ever get bigger.

    Article 50 could have been drafted to stipulate that a departing member would have liabilities to be settled. But the Eurocrats drafting it did not want to make EU membership look like an expensive liability. Unfortunately they now don’t want to follow the letter of their own rules. If Greece were crashing out of the Euro & EU, they would not attempt to get an exit fee. The only reason that they try to send a bill to the UK is that they believe opportunistically that there is money here for them to take.

    • LordBlagger
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      When it comes to things like off balance shee pension liabilities,

      Actually the EU has them on the balance sheet if you look.

      It’s just John and his fellow MPs who hide them.

      But both are ponzi set ups where the money goes to early joiners and late joiners will lose.

      If Mr Average in the UK had been allowed to invest his NI, he would be sitting on £1,100,000 if he retired today. Most of the state’s debts, pensions wouldn’t exist.

      Instead he gets 112K of pension, not enough to live off, and there’s a 425K share of the states debts.

      On Greece, etc, you are right.

    • Monza 71
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      The reason that accession states don’t have any financial adjustment for liabilities is that in the last 20 years they have all been, without exception, poorer than existing EU states and have been net recipients of vast sums of other member’s money and remain a continual drain on resources.

      The net sums they receive are a huge multiple of any figure for liabilities they are theoretically taking on.

      The interesting situation would be if a rich country was foolish enough to want to join. The country might well raise the issue but the arrogant EU would just dismiss the question claiming that accepting the liabilities is nothing compared with the priviledge of being allowed to become a member of their elite club.

  5. Duncan
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    A pathetic ploy by an intransigent, arrogant political entity who even now simply refuses to accept the legitimacy and meaning of the EU referendum result

    The British people want their country back in its entirety. That means the ECJ and EU law will cease have any meaning within the borders of the United Kingdom when we leave.

    The EU cannot concede that no longer will their laws apply in the UK. This loss of legal and political control represents a loss of ego and pride to them

    I don’t want to hear the name Juncker ever again. Nor Barroso. I am sure they are decent people in a private capacity but as politicians they represent all that is wrong with the EU

    The UK Govt has one simple task. Bring our country home. Get on with it and stop pandering to the EU ego

    • Peter Wood
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      Quite right in all respects! If I may offer you a little comfort, I think Mr. Davis is doing a fine job, if the press reports are to be believed. He clearly sees through the charade of EU citizens, ECJ and Irish borders, these are easy, ALL Barnier is really interested in is how much cash we agree to pay on leaving. If our hosts view holds up and we refuse to pay, then after a few more fits and spasms we’ll get a useful deal. Frustration of trade is in nobody’s interest!

    • DaveM
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      I agree with all of that. Except the bit about Juncker’s personal qualities.

    • majorfrustration
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Agree. Can you see the USA permitting EU law to operate in the US in respect of EU citizens resident in the US.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Well said, Duncan.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      “The EU cannot concede that no longer will their laws apply in the UK. This loss of legal and political control represents a loss of ego and pride to them”

      Exactly so, that is why British eurofederalists are making such a fuss about the end of the right to damages under the Francovich rule:

      “… the EEC Treaty has created its own legal system, which is integrated into the legal systems of the Member States and which their courts are bound to apply … ”

  6. zorro
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    ‘They have missed the point that when we become an independent country again the UK Supreme Court is the ultimate appeal court for UK based matters’…. Indeed, the clue is in the title as I have stated previously.


  7. formula57
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    “…UK opinion will harden against them and in favour of simply leaving” – and that should mean leaving immediately, at a saving of c.£850 million per month. (Mrs. Weak and Vacillating’s total spend on EU contributions from hanging around in the ailing Evil Empire now amounts to c.£10.6 billion.)

    Has someone in government done an NPV calculation to work out if carrying on with that spend whilst the (possibly sham) negotiations proceed is worthwhile?

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Pinning down the EU is not so easy alas. They do not act even in their own interests.

    Do we really have to listen to the idiotic opinions of punishment budget, IHT ratter and
    tax increasing George Osborne on the BBC yet again today. Proven totally wrong on all his absurd warnings (aided by the appalling Carney why is he still in place?)

    “I spent year trying to turn round the British economy” he said. A shame he did not undertand any economics and tried to do so by increasing taxes, pissing money down the drain on vanity projects, increasing red tape, supporting our membership of the hugely damaging EU and generally make a complete mess of things.

    T May is a totally misguided green crap, interventionist, but she certainly should not listen to Osborne he is even worse.

  9. Freeborn John
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    The government and David Davis is particular is proving to be an incompetent negotiator. As soon as theEU started to talk about ‘phasing’ the talks the Uk government should have concluded the prospect of no deal was very high and set that as the expected outcome with industry and the public. The error has been compounded by a ‘standstill’ transition which ensures any small change from the status quo will be in the run-up to the next election which you will deserve to lose for failing to take back control. This will maximise EU leverage as the campaign is overshadowed by wails about ‘cliff edges’ and you will have missed the window of opportunity afforded by the Trump presidency to co close a fee trade agreement with the USA. There are no words to describe the incompetence of Davis and Hammond or the opportunistic May who gambled the country’s future for personal reasons.

    • DaveM
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      “The government and David Davis is particular is proving to be an incompetent negotiator.”

      Really? How on earth can anyone negotiate with people that refuse every single suggestion put to them, and have no interest in anything other than how they can extract as much cash as possible from the other party?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Given what has just happened over his most senior adviser I would question both the quality, and the intention, of the advice being given to David Davis.

      It seems to me that if a country follows a certain path for decades then inevitably it will tend to elevate public servants who agree with that long term political strategy and exclude any who seem to be opposed to it.

      And we are talking about more than sixty years since the 1956 Suez crisis, which some identify as the turning point when our political elite swung towards accepting our national legal subjugation in a pan-European federation, and that is easily long enough for patriotic dissent to be bred out of the civil service.

    • Kenneth
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      To be fair, Mr Davies & co also need to play the role of diplomat.

      They will not be bad mouthing the eu to the press and will keep dignified counsel imho – at least for now…

  10. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Two choices:
    Leave the EU completely. that means cutting off about half our trade. It will tank the economy, the NHS, the supermarkets will be empty, horse racing will stop, aeroplanes will not fly. It really is that simple. Nick Clegg was right.
    Join EFTA. In which case we are free of the EU. We are free of the ECJ. We are free to negotiate our own trade deals. We do not have the Common Agricultural Policy or the Common Fishing Policy and we contribute a lot less.And, above all, trade goes on seamlessly with platforms for negotiating that have no deadline.

    I suspect that I am talking to thin air and time will tell – very soon actually – who is right.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      I will just repeat my reply from yesterday, which you haven’t even bothered to read let alone contradict – as with the reply somebody else made as well:

      “I can’t be bothered to go through this and point out the multiple errors of fact. If I thought that you (Mike Stallard) would come back and read my comment and try to reply to the criticisms then that would be a different matter; but you don’t do that , you just fly over and dump your load of dud bombs and then fly away. So I can say without any fear of contradiction from you that this is all rubbish … “

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Being in EFTA is not leaving the EU much as North argues otherwise.
      The EFTA court mirrors the ECJ and we would still be paying tribute to Brussels and having to accept free movement.
      We want out not some half baked no mans land.

    • MickN
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      “Nick Clegg was right.”

      What you mean like when he repeatedly called Nigel Farage a liar for suggesting that an EU army was I the offing?

      I am struggling to think of anything that Nick Clegg has EVER been right on over the years and I keep drawing a blank.

    • graham1946
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      These posts get sillier by the day. Our exports to the EU total about 8 percent of our trade not half like you Remainers try to say. If there is no deal there will be no stopping of trade, horse racing or planes landing. Business doesn’t just depend on a political outcome. Do you really think traders will stop making money by sending us cars, fruit, veg flowers and all the rest just to make the Remoaners appear right? This is the land of milk and honey for foreign exporters and money talks loudest.

    • old salt
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Interesting informative programme on BBC Parliament 23 Aug (14:40) from 21 June – “Briefings: Britain and the EU: One Year On”. Professor Bogdanor (Visiting Professor of Political History, Gresham College) delivers a lecture on Britain and Europe.
      Lecture covers around 1950 to 21 June including the various so called options Norway, Switzerland, Customs Union, Turkey, Free Trade Agreements, Single Market, withdrawal of Greenland in 1985, WTO, etc.

      Available on iplayer for 1 month presumably from 23 Aug.

  11. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    The EU attitude is still one of trying to punish the UK where ever possible, and make us sorry for having the temerity to stop being robbed blind by them.

    Looking at the state of our infrastructure, our roads, the way everything looks so scruffy in the UK, one can only wonder at the imbalance in what we got out of the EU, when you compare the beautiful streets of Spain or Poland. The EU has made us paupers, extracting more than we can afford to fund their inane projects to redistribute wealth.
    They want to go on using our resources for all of this and more, so that’s why they want us to keep paying – they never had much interest in making the UK a better place.

    Likewise, with control – currently they can demand just about anything of the UK, so they must feel pretty sick that they will be losing this control, and try to hang on to some portions of it – this just reflects their collective neurotic tendencies – they want a subservient Britain.

  12. agricola
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    In terms of trade, every market in the World has it’s own set of product and procedural rules. The EU is just a market. I assume the WTO can adjudicate in both tariff and none tariff situations.

    I hope you are correct in emphasising that once we leave we become a sovereign nation once more and therefore everything within our boundaries both maritime and land are automatically within UK Supreme Court jurisdiction only. Anything less is a betrayal of our referendum decisions both in country and Parliament.

    A suggestion from my secretary. As the clock tower containing Big Ben is still working why not broadcast a recording of the bell from somewhere adjacent. The roof of Portcullis House might be convenient. This would preserve the eardrums of the workforce, is volume controllable, and after a while you won’t be able to tell the difference.

  13. Freeborn John
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    The government and David Davis is particular is proving to be an incompetent negotiator. As soon as theEU started to talk about ‘phasing’ the talks the Uk government should have concluded the prospect of no deal was very high and set that as the expected outcome with industry and the public. The initial error has been compounded by unilateral concessions and Hannond’s ‘standstill’ transition which ensures any small change from the status quo will be in the run-up to the next election which you will deserve to lose for failing to take back control. This will maximise EU leverage as the campaign is overshadowed by wails about ‘cliff edges’ and you will have missed the window of opportunity afforded by the Trump presidency to conclude a fee trade agreement with the USA. There are no words to describe the incompetence of Davis and Hammond or the opportunistic May who gambled the country’s future for personal reasons.

  14. Original Richard
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    It is correct to say that as an independent country we do not expect to be subject to the ECJ nor continue to pay the EU for future liabilities.

    In addition we expect to be in full control of all our assets, viz, our fishing grounds up to the 200 mile internationally agreed limit where applicable.

    I trust that the continued “commentary” on the ceding of our fishing rights is just “idle speculation” as control of our fishing will be seen by the public for as much a test of sovereignty as no longer being under the jurisdiction of the ECJ.

  15. Mark B
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Our kind host refuses to understand that the EU are not negotiating a trade deal or intending to negotiate one until ‘after’ we have left the EU. What they are their for is to settle a range of matters arising from our decision to leave the EU. The matter of trade is mute to the EU, since the EU is immune form it, only member countries are affected. And those countries have stated that the EU shall negotiate for all of us.

    I fear false arguments are being circulated to test the mood of public opinion. Not falling for it. We are leaving the EU, and whether or not we have new arrangements in place I care not.

    The clock is ticking :


    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      There is nothing in Article 50 to support either Michel Barnier’s presumed right to dictate the detailed procedure for the negotiations or his arbitrary contention that the first priority must be decide how much money the EU can extract from us. Because there is nothing in the treaties about either of those things it cannot be claimed that we have ever agreed to them, and so we have just as much legal right to tell him how we want the negotiations to proceed and insist on our proposals. Which are in my view much more sensible proposals, as our diplomats should be explaining to all the 160-odd other governments around the world.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        The EU are in the driving seat, at least in the short term. They are not the ones starting from scratch – we are !

        Of course their is nothing in the Treaties about anything except what a member country can and cannot do whilst being a member. No one was ever suppose to leave ! Less, “Ode to Joy” and more “Hotel California”.

        All the EU is concerned with is ‘contagion’ and frightening other countries from ever wanting to try the same thing is as good a way of stopping that.

        Our kind host talks of the negotiations in terms of a new business arrangement. It is not ! This is a new arrangement in which a member country must seek to extract itself from the EU and tidy up various lose ends.

        Leaving the EU will not be painless, but in the long run it will be worth it.

  16. Nig l
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    David Davis is the Geoff Boycott of negotiating, bat for hours, defend his wicket as if his life depends on it from any difficult balls from the EU and occasionally smashes one to the boundary. Any requests for payments should be thus dealt with and any offers to pay away our money (hammond) should result in being dropped from the team. In truth there would be uproar if this happened.

    • Tom William
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      If the report that Hammond wants to share control over fishing rights with the EU is true, given all the huge support our fishermen have given to Brexit and the huge damage the EU has done to their industry Hammond should not be dropped but made to field at silly point without a helmet.

  17. Bert Young
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    As long as the waiting goes on speculation of one sort or another occurs . We should simply put our negotiating cards on the table and leave it to that . The EU are wrong to insist on the priority of the ECJ ; once we are out we are out . The most important thing now is our leadership . Theresa has to show that she is up the job and create loyalty around her .

  18. Jason wells
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Brexit has been brought about the UK political class ignoring the bleating of UKIP and lower order rag press for decades and if you or anyone else thinks that the EU is going to roll over and take whatever you seem to be suggesting here then you will surely have another think coming. All of this upset and stupid going includi g reckless talk has been brought about our side, and just wait and see what the EU council have to say or not say in October and Barnier next week, he is an intelligent man and is not going to waste too much of his time with this British carryon…the cliff edge awaits.. if we are going to proceed alo g the lines demonstrated here by our host..then heaven help us all.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      You are sailing dangerously close to the wrong side here.

  19. Peter
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I agree that there is more arguing on the UK side than I would like to see. This encourages the EU to delay in the hope of gaining an advantage.

    I also agree the UK public opinion will harden if the EU proceeds in this way. Unfortunately I am not convinced that UK politicians have similar resolve. They seem shaky with all the talk of ‘transition’ and ‘temporary’ arrangements. There seems to be more talk of appeasement on our side than the other. It’s as if our politicians believe the EU holds the stronger hand.

    I also believe the EU will work for political objectives rather the economic ones.

    For that reason, I believe the UK should walk away now.

  20. Tabulazero
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Frankly, the UK may be more useful outside the EU as an example of what happen when you leave.

    This also has the added benefit to involve a partial transfer of your financial service and industrial base to the continent. Yes, this may indeed involve increasing funding costs for companies but what do you think is more politically palatable for any politician to say : a) “I have prevented funding costs from rising 25bps” or b)”I have brought back 9,000 high paying jobs to Frankfurt “ ?

    While a) may be more important for the long-term health of the economy, b) is far easier to understand as a vote winner.

    The more time passes, the more of a binary outcome Brexit negotiations become in my opinion. The U.K. will likely end totally in or totally out. Both situations have their advantages and disadvantages from an EU perspective. It can live with both outcomes.

    • zorro
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Ah bless, hoping for your ‘punishment’ exit. Dream on, we will talk about it another time…..


    • Ian Wragg
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      I doubt that you are British.
      The UK is leaving the EU and life will continue.
      At the last count there were more than 140 countries outside the EU and we successfully trade with most of them even creating a small surplus.
      The EU will find life much more difficult without our largesse.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        Or it will have a much easier time advancing its agenda. But you are right, there will be less money going around. Brussels taking a hard line with Poland and the Czech Republic might not be a simple coincidence.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      More unwanted foreign intervention.

  21. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Matt Ridley in The Times and Liam Fox’s new trade chief, Crawford Falconer, were extolling the proven benefits of free trade to world co-operation and peace. If the West wants to punish a perceived rogue state it imposes trade sanctions, the EU sees the UK as a rogue state for daring to Leave its clutches. This article, like all of his pieces, is pure logic and reason e.g. why does the EU impose a tariff on coffee imports when none of its members grow coffee? I would like to see Lord Heseltine respond to Lord Ridley’s article in The Times, in which he regularly contributes his doom laden forecasts. Similarly I always thought G.Osborne was totally out of his depth in Government, but his continual rubbishing the UK is plumbing depths beyond my disregard for him.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      why does the EU impose a tariff on coffee imports when none of its members grow coffee?

      Tariff on “raw” beans is 0% I believe and 7%? on processed coffee.

      I guess the answer to your question is that some EU countries (Netherlands & Italy etc) make money out of processing beans within the EU, thus the tariff discourages processing outside of the EU.

      This doesn’t really help African countries which could do with proper economic help rather that “International Development” handouts…

  22. ChrisS
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Everything in this post is exactly right. The problem is that the Brussels elite are so arrogant, so convinced that the EU is the only way forward that they are in denial. They simply cannot accept that we will leave.

    We have seen numerous examples or this kind of behaviour and attitude before : the ignoring of the Dutch referendum on Ukraine, the insistence on Eire, the Netherlands and France holding a second or even a third referendum until they came up with the right answer. Right, that is for the EU, not for the people of those countries.

    Even when negotiating, the EU’s position is that they insist on retaining control of vital aspects of our future relationship. They don’t or won’t recognise that an independent country on the edge of the EU needs and wants to be just as independent as the USA, Canada and Australia. Their attitude has to change for the negotiations to succeed.

    But the biggest problem is that even after two World Wars and their dealings with Margaret Thatcher, the leaders of the EU still do not understand the British psyche. Unlike several EU member states I could name, the more the 27 attempt to bully and cajole us, the more battle hardened and resistant the British People will become.

    The way to encourage us to remain would have been to treat us as equals in the negotiations, make some modest concessions and negotiate on friendly terms. By treating us as supplicants they are doing exactly the opposite and they are now finding we are becoming even more determined to leave. ( except for pathetic characters such as Clegg, Cable and Co, obviously ).

    I remain convinced that unless there is a dramatic change in the position being adopted by Brussels and the leaders of the 27 ( ie Merkel ), we will be leaving without a deal.

    I am perfectly relaxed about that.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Nonetheless we should bear in mind what the American revolutionaries said in the first paragraph of their Declaration of Independence:

      “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

      To show “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind” and build up support our diplomats around the world should be actively explaining to governments and other influential bodies “the causes which impel” us to “separation” from the EU, and if it comes to that why we are leaving the EU without any formal withdrawal agreement – because in defiance of all their high flown treaty commitments they hypocritically refused to negotiate in good faith.

  23. Peter
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    It is also time to play hardball. The EIB has reportedly ceased funding projects in the UK under the guise of due diligence. Our response should be to cease payments to the EU until funding resumes.

  24. LordBlagger
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Ask the WTO if we can impose 100% tariffs on BMW or are the UK and Germany “bound”?

    My bet is that the WTO will say when we leave nothing changes for existing agreements and tariffs and barriers can only ratchet down unless both sides agree.

    The only change is the EU doesn’t negotiate for the UK.

    Get that precedent from the WTO, and the EU can whistle.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Dear My Lord–Whistle (eg while you work or when obeying the Scouts’ Law) connotes happiness–Instead, what the EU should be invited to do is GO whistle

  25. Michael
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    We need to reconcile ourselves to the fact that the most likely outcome of the negotiations will present the British people with a choice between a bad deal, remaining in the EU and leaving without a deal.

    Much more work needs to be done to reassure MP’s and the public that the sky will not fall in if we leave without a deal.

    Unilateral free trade is counter intuitive and it’s advantages need to be articulated and better and more widely understood

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Despite the deliberately deceitful, or plain unthinking, plaudits of its advocates our existing deal with the EU is patently a bad deal – in almost every respect we are givers, not takers – and it was an understanding of that truth which led enough of us to vote to leave last summer.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Dear Michael–Not so counter-intuitive–Tariffs are an unnecessary overhead clogging trade and need to be eradicated. Getting to the happy state of no tariffs will no doubt have its difficulties but that is a different point Wasn’t all this thrashed out at the time of Peel and the Corn Laws?

      • Helen
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Do you even know what non tariff barriers are?

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          Dear Woman–If your beloved non tariff barriers are put in place against us and allowed to subsist serious conflict could result. People like you are creating hatred out of thin air. Remember we ask no more than to be treated like all the other countries in the world.

          • Helen
            Posted August 22, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            Ok so you really do not know what they are

        • Original Richard
          Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

          We’ve always suffered from non-tariff barriers which is one reason why we have an £80bn/year trading deficit with the EU.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 23, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

          Non tariff barriers are the next problem raised by eurofederalists when they’ve lost the argument over tariff barriers, as you have.

        • Tom Rogers
          Posted August 23, 2017 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          We DO know what non-tariff barriers are.

          Do you? The Single Market itself has not eliminated non-tariff barriers between its Member States. You do know that?

  26. Eric Sorensen
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    The future destiny of the great Union is in danger if the UK is allowed to get out and prosper. Then others might want to follow to avoid the unknown in the coming Union, which might make mighty political turns to either side as the wind blows. Thus, one should be realistic and stop dreaming about a fair and reasonable deal. Rather, UK politicians should provide the public a view to fair suggestions made to the EU and that way show the public, UK and on the Continent, that the UK is not the one stopping progress. Today, the public is not afforded a decent view on matters and the only thing that can push the EU around is public demand for jobs and trade.

    On the issue of compensation, this is down to 2,000 years old Roman law principles. Regardless what’s in or left out of the wording of the Treaty. Thus, the EU is subject to limit its losses or pay itself. Any obligations that is not committed legally to a third party can be stopped and the UK can rightfully decline to pay for the dinner it is no longer invited to.

    Imagine a hunting association with 10 members (to keep math simple). They have nothing agreed about terminating membership. One member decides to leave. The internal agreement between the 10 to buy 1,000 pheasants next season needs not be honoured by the departing member because the 9 others will still get their 100 pheasants each. On the other hand the employment agreement between the association and the game keeper must be honoured by the departing member as the remaining members committed to this obligation with the mutual understanding that all 10 would pay their share.

    Applying the principles of Roman law of obligations, which is how the ECJ would work, results in a much reduced payment than threatened by the EU and even rumoured to be offered by the UK. These issues need to be debated in the public to allow the public to better see and understand how the EU is making demand that can only serve one purpose: no deal.

    The writer is a Danish lawyer educated in Europe.

    On a closing remark I must encourage a waiver on Danish bacon, please.

    Reply I agree the UK should show its reasonableness. So far it is the UK coming up with ways to proceed that are positive and helpful, with no favourable responses or helpful alternatives from the Commission.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Good analogy. I am sure there will be a sensible compromise. most negotiations get finalised in the small hours of the morning when the timetable is running out.

      • Monza 71
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        I am afraid that I don’t agree with your perfectly reasonable summation.

        The problem is that Brussels, the 27 and the European Parliament are anything but sensible and reasonable and they are certainly not looking for compromise.

        MEPs led by that idiot Verhofstadt have painted themselves into a corner over Brexit, the future role of the ECJ and the financial penalty they wish to levy on us. We are beyond a point where a fair and reasonable compromise can be fudged and they would be humiliated if the deal delivered anything less than they are demanding.

  27. Kenneth
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    The eu will be getting a bargain if it is allowed to get away with keeping our substantial investments and assets. However I think that would be the best course to take: we leave the eu with no payments either way apart from any subs we owe.

    On the other hand, if the eu wants us to pay for future liabilities it is only right that we are also compensated for assets that we have contributed to.

    In that case I would have thought the eu will need to pay quite a substantial sum to us.

    The goods news is that the eu commission is all puff and bluster and not the real deal.

    I suspect that the member states (who are mainly keeping wise counsel at the moment) will soon take the baton from the eu and things will start to look more sensible.

  28. bigneil
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    ” Once we have left we get no benefit of the spending ” ?? -Once we have left ( If we ever do ) we will have lots more money to spend on what WE want/need than we do now. ~The EU is there to give a high life to the leaders – full stop. It is like watching a bunch of gangsters running a protection racket.

  29. Prigger
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    It is sweet how summer holidays affect the top.The odd EU mouth shouts obscenities. The passionate determined robust fighting nationalists of the SNP wait until 22nd August 2017 to have a sit down with their Welsh counterparts. Their nationalist aim? Make sure a foreign court governs Scotland. Make sure Scotland gets its fish which it wanted to give away to the EU and actually still wishes to give away by trying to stay in the EU. We all know the double-headedness of the SNP.
    No serious business regarding negotiations is going on. MPs will return to the House on September 5th, many just to avail themselves of London firework shopping ready to take back to their Constituencies for November 5th. Hey, might as well leave it til after the Christmas and New Year hols to get on with governance???!!!

  30. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    On the one hand the EU says EU citizens currently living in the U.K. should retain all their current rights guaranteed by the ECJ, but on the other hand UK citizens currently living in the EU won’t have the right to go and live in a different EU country which is a dilution of their current rights. The EU plainly wants to have their cake and eat it.

  31. ian russell
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Once we have left we get no benefit of the spending so we should not be contributing to the spending.

    Yes. However there are programmes where everyone benefits and the negotiators should focus on those.

  32. Prigger
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Italy has found tainted eggs yesterday. ( fipronil ) In 2 samples out of 114 samples. Massive sampling!!!!! Meanwhile, the EU is having an Emergency meeting…… month.
    Of course there’s “nothing to worry about” but they have withdrawn the eggs anyway.
    The EU and Mrs May should write a letter of thankfulness to the criminals who have done something which “there is nothing to worry about” by very neatly and carefully distributing fipronil in exactly equal quantities per egg. In anyone’s terms, this amounts to a biological technological engineering feat in distributing poison amongst farm yard manure.Perhaps an MBE is not out of the question???? Or even a Nobel Prize for this miraculous biochemical perfect distribution.

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    JR, what is this latest nonsense in parts of the media about the UK possibly submitting to the jurisdiction of the EFTA court?

    “Tory MPs warn David Davis that UK must make a clean break from European Court of Justice after Brexit”

    We are not in EFTA and despite some merely superficial, and sometimes deliberately misrepresented, attractions of joining EFTA there are very good reasons why we should not seek to do that, so why should we agree to abide by decisions of that court?

    If the EU wants there to be some mechanism to resolve disputes, especially trade disputes, between the EU and the UK under the new BESPOKE treaty arrangements which we are seeking, how much trouble would it be to set up a new, separate, BESPOKE, court or arbitration panel or whatever? We could for instance invite some judges from other parts of the world, impartial judges, to take part in that arrangement.

    I wish some people could get their heads around the simple idea that we are Britain and we want to be like Britain, not like Norway or Liechtenstein or Switzerland or Turkey or Canada or Albania or some other country which may seem to offer an existing, but not necessarily appropriate, model or template for international and trade relations.

    Or perhaps it’s not so much a need for them to get their heads around a new idea as a need for them to get up off their knees, where too many of them have been for too long.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      To get one thing clear, from Article 33 of the Agreement between the EFTA states on the establishment of a Surveillance Authority and a Court of Justice:

      “The EFTA States concerned shall take the necessary measures to comply with the judgments of the EFTA Court.”

      Those who claim that unlike judgments of the ECJ those of the EFTA court are only advisory are wrong: it can choose to hand down a merely advisory judgment, but it can also choose to hand down a binding judgment.

      Are those who advocate that we seek to join EFTA and stay in the EEA seriously suggesting that we should try to do that while openly declaring that we do not intend to obey any judgments of the court unless it pleases us to do so?

      And do they seriously think that the EU and all the EFTA countries (including Switzerland) and all the other EEA countries would agree to us doing that, as would be required for the necessary treaty to be concluded?

      If you were the government of any one of those countries, would you consent to the admission of a candidate country whose government was openly telling its people that it intended to break the rules of the organisation it sought to join?

  34. MPC
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Even though tariffs would be undesirable, and illogical, I wonder if you and your colleagues might now persuade our government to take the initiative by openly starting to talk about plans for them. In any media interview the starting point would be that this is not what we want or have offered to the EU, but EC intransigence makes such planning necessary. The planning would be in terms of how we would compensate our exporters, which should be straightforward and give them reassurance. If tariffs were to come in in April 2019 then the government could explain that exporters would be able to claim costs back (effectively from our tariff income surplus) for that financial year and onwards presumably via HMRC tax returns with a commitment that information requirements will not be onerous.

    The emphasis on planning, and explanation as to why this is necessary, would keep public opinion onside and put not only some UK politicians but also Messrs Barnier and Verhofstadt firmly on the backfoot.

    • michael mcgrath
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      ” If tariffs were to come in in April 2019 then the government could explain that exporters would be able to claim costs back (effectively from our tariff income surplus)”.
      Where does the tariff income surplus come from? Well, from the importer who has to actually pay the customs duty.
      What does the importer do? He has to increase his selling price to redeem his cash
      Who pays his selling price? The eventual customer….that’s you and me and everyone on this blog who buys this importers product.
      So, who actually reimburses the exporter, Answers on a post card please

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        So what happens at present to the EU’s Common External Tariff income collected by the UK, where does that go?

        You may care to put this answer on a postcard:

        “Traditional own resources: consist mainly of customs duties on imports from outside the EU and sugar levies. EU Member States keep 20 % of the amounts as collection costs.”

      • miami.mode
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink


        You seem to have misunderstood the tariff income. Yes, the ultimate customer will pay more because the tariff is added to the price, but the tariff income is paid by the foreign exporter and ends up in our government’s pocket.

      • Monza 71
        Posted August 23, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        I agree that the consumer ends up paying more but tariffs will be good for UK businesses.

        For example, the full effect of exchange rate movements have not yet been felt on the prices of German cars as the manufacturers have absorbed some of the increase but for how long ? Add 10% tariffs to the windscreen price and many buyers and leasing companies will start to switch to UK-produced vehicles such as Jaguar and Land Rover.

        That would be very good for UK PLC.

        As for our vehicle exports to the EU, exchange rate movements have already reduced the prices of British-built cars by more than the 10% tariff that would be levied on cars.

  35. Tony Sharp
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Dear John,
    Can you clarify a point about a EU-UK FTA or even a unilateral FT please?
    EU traders and manufacturers would presumably lower their prices in the UK to maintain market share here against non-EU imported quality equvalents.
    If so then European nationals could come to the UK to buy EU goods at that discount.
    Would it be be practically impossible to put a CU surcharge on an EU product brought back into the EU by an EU national?
    If this is so, then that alone would blow the SM-CU system apart surely?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      It was thought that the advent of the euro would increase cross-border shopping and so tend to equalise prices for the same articles in different countries, but that did not happen to any great extent. So I guess what you are describing could also happen to some extent but overall the effect would only be marginal.

  36. Atlas
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    John, I find all the spin to keep us under the control of the EU by some means or other depressing. What is it about being run by the EU that so appeals to some folk?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Atlas, there have always been such people and there is a word for them.

      • R.T.G.
        Posted August 22, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Since that word seems to have lost its strength of meaning these days, perhaps we could call such people, some of whose antecedents appear not to have inhabited this island for a goodly number of generations, “ungrateful, inconsiderate and”, dare I say it, “foolhardy”.

  37. Iain Gill
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I see according to the press we are happy to let the rest of the EU continue to run around in our fishing waters like they own the place… I humbly suggest not

    Negotiating position? Should be pretty much telling them to get stuffed we are doing our own thing and they can lump it

  38. lojolondon
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Dear John, again I think your words are too kind.
    The greatest threat to the existence of the EU there has ever been is that a country, any country leaves the EU and thrives. So their one intention in all of this is to do us serious damage, because that is the only way they will stop other countries from seeing the light and leaving. Therefore their plan will have to be as detrimental as possible for the UK, no matter what the damage to the EU. And that is why “no deal” should not be our Plan B, it needs to be our Plan A, because that will be far better than the deal they are offering.

    • miami.mode
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink


      I well remember during the Greek currency crisis 4 or 5 years ago one of the columnists in one of our heavyweight newspapers saying that we should never underestimate the willingness of the EU elite to damage the lives of millions of their citizens to keep the project alive.

  39. jonP
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m just waiting for the day when we will see ourselves twisting in the wind, and wondering what words of wisdom will be coming from the lips of messrs Fox, Gove and dear old Boris, not to mention IDS and our host JR. When the EU kicks us full force and be assured it won’t be too long before that is to happen, we’ll see then what the great Tory party plan will be- slogans ‘taking back control’ and not being subject to the ECJ makes not one bit of differeence to the ordinary man trying to get by. And as was said loud and clear before by one of your commentators when it comes to these brexit matters- EU politics will trump economics everytime. There will be no change from the three exit demands that will have to be settled first before new trade talks begin- trying to muddy the waters will not work- as we will see soon enough next week

    Rep[ly They do not have the power to harm us! There are plenty of places around the world that would like to sell us food and cars.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Why are you taking the side of countries which you see as our adversaries?

  40. Richard W
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Look at Switzerland. Their share of trade with the EU (as % of their total trade) is only a little higher than the UK’s. Despite not being in the EU, relations with the EU are the top political issue there. They are extremely keen on arrangements that replicate as closely as possible EU-internal ones, and have been for decades. They know why they don’t want a “no deal” scenario, not in trade, not in education, . Yet they highly value their independence, while knowing, and admitting, that because of their close links and treaties with the EU, their actual room for manoeuvre is very limited, possibly more so than if they were member.
    It will be the same in the UK after Brexit. In a way it will be worse, since the UK, unlike Switzerland, knows what it was like to be in the EU, and people will be wondering whether it was all worth it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      It will only be the same in the UK as in Switzerland if we agree that it shall be the same as in Switzerland, and as we – including you – can see the problems with the Swiss position that is quite enough to warn us that we must not get into the same fix as Switzerland and so we will not.

    • Terry
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Ye of so little faith in our country.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Switzerland is a net exporter to the EU and we’re a net importer

      • Richard W
        Posted August 23, 2017 at 5:48 am | Permalink

        Pretty immaterial difference; their EU imports are still very substantial, as are our exports.

    • Richard W
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 5:39 am | Permalink

      I think the Switzerland example teaches a number of things:
      – The reluctance/unease to be part of a supra-national entity is real, but only so long as people think they stand to gain from being outside (just think of £350m/NHS).
      – The issue of our relationship with the EU will never go away, whether in or out and on whatever terms, and it will be just as heated as it is now.
      – People will not accept any deterioration of their living standards, whether material or immaterial (e.g. visa-free travel, smooth cross-border business, healthcare abroad, residency abroad) as a result of being outside the EU.

  41. iain
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that the bottom line is that the EU chiefs are afraid of how they will manage without our very large net contribution. Barnier is it appears under instruction to try to frighten us in the hope that we will make concessions in all areas. We MUST stand firm and HMG should reiterate as often as possible that no deal is better than a bad deal so that our people and our media know where we stand. As Churchill once said….”We shall never surrender”.

  42. robert lewy
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    In order to demonstrate the strength of Brexit case it would be valuable to be able to identify particular examples of manufactured or agricultural products where one can demonstrate potential savings in import costs.
    These cases would serve to remind EU vendors of the reality that they will need to come to terms with.

    • Londoner
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Very good point!
      Do let me know when you have found a sector improved by the introduction of protectionist trade barriers

  43. Terry
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I would certainly feel a lot easier if JR, JRM and all the other experienced back benchers were DIRECTLY involved in these so-called negotiations.

    So little information is coming from our side with so much from the other, it would seem that the EU are setting the agenda on a daily basis.
    This is not the way for us to negotiate and the lack of experience and expertise in our team is far too evident. I fear the other side are capitalising on the weaknesses.

    I do not like the way WE always seem to be on the back foot. especially so when we have most of the trump cards in this deal. What is the matter with our crew?

  44. miami.mode
    Posted August 22, 2017 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Irrespective of the reasons, sterling is more than 10% down on the euro from Referendum day and thus with 10% tariffs, currently our exports would be at roughly the same price. With such tariffs Mercs and BMWs will be around 20% dearer and this may well put many of their models in the higher VED category whereas an American runabout such as a V8 RHD Mustang without tariffs will likely be in the £140 category. The American expression is probably yeehaw to the dismay of German car manufacturers.

    Ironically if Mark Carney’s dire warnings and pre-emptive actions had any influence on this situation, then he will have rendered an invaluable service to our Brexit negotiators.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 22, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      In the absence of EU willingness to do a free trade deal in the next 6 months, we need to look at dumping duties and quotas on German cars and Irish agriculture products. We can’t sustain otherwise such an ongoing trade deficit with a bloc such as the EU. We will then give third countries time to prepare to sell to us.

  45. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    There will be disputes between UK and EU during negotiations that cannot be resolved. Arbitration will be necessary and that presents a huge problem. The UK will not accept any European court, especially the ECJ, which has consistently ruled in favour of the EC and further European integration. It is in no way unbiased. The EU will not accept arbitration by a British, a Commonwealth or an American court for equally obvious reasons.

    The best I can come up with is arbitration by a Russian court. Can anyone do better?

    We could reject arbitration and not negotiate at all. Our divorce bill would be the minimum – one and a quarter years of net contribution plus pensions obligations – to be audited by us. We could declare that, on leaving, we would impose neither tariffs nor non-tariff barriers on EU exports of goods and services to us but reserved the right to retaliate unless the EU reciprocated.

    We should already be negotiating detailed trade deals with America, Australia and New Zealand for implementation immediately on leaving. If the EU tries to veto this, we should tell them to get lost.

  • 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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