The EU Viet Nam free trade agreement

All those who write to me to complain that the UK might sign a Free Trade Agreement with the USA not to their liking might like to concentrate on the Free Trade Agreements we have to accept, entered into by the EU for us. This week the EU has signed a new agreement with Viet Nam.  There has been no debate in Parliament about it, and the UK has no right to reject it or to require improvements and amendments.

It is a long and complex document. The tariff reductions are asymmetric, with 7 years to get EU tariffs to zero, and more than 10 years to get all Viet Nam tariffs to zero. Both sides pledge themselves to the doctrine of equivalence over sanitary and phytosanitary matters. The provisions on animal welfare are unclear.

EU trade with Viet Nam is  not large. The EU imports some clothing, telecoms products, computers and shoes. I think these agreements ought to be subject to proper Parliamentary control, with UK negotiators taking the views of public and Parliament into the negotiations.

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  1. Pete S
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    A bit confused ? I thought all trade treaties had to be agreed by each country? When did this change ??

    • bigneil
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      When did this change? – – When the EU didn’t tell us it did. Dictators to the core.

      • John-McHugh
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        You do know we have no seat at the Eu trade deal negotiating table as we are not in the Eurozone. We rely on the likes of Germany and France to nehotiate on our behalf ?
        Of course they will always put our interests above theirs….. lol.

    • Newmania
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Ha …exactly what I was thinking , in what sense does the EU act without the agreement of EU member members?
      Nonsense of course

      • libertarian
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink


        As always youre wrong, as you voted for this you might want to find out what you actually voted for

      • John-McHugh
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        No it isn’t nonsense.
        We have no seat at the Eu trade deal.negotiaying table as we are not in the Eurozone

      • EastDevonTory
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        The EU Commission acts for all members on trade matters, including at the WTO:

      • NickC
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        Newmania, Whenever there is QMV. And of course agreement can be extracted by bribes or threats as well.

    • Tim Hammond
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      It varies, depending on the type of deal, what approvals are required. However I believe the UK will have already approved it at previous stages.

    • acorn
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      The Council authorises the European Commission to negotiate a new trade agreement on behalf of the EU. The Council providers negotiating directives which include the objectives, scope and possible time limits of the negotiations.

      After agreement on the text of the deal the Commission submits formal proposals for adoption to the Council. The Council sends the signed agreement to the European Parliament for consent. If the European Parliament gives its consent, the Council adopts the decision to conclude the agreement.

      The UK parliament has a large democratic deficit compared to most countries. Since the CRAG Act, the UK Government must lay most treaties before Parliament for 21 sitting days before it can ratify them, and the Commons can block ratification indefinitely. However, there is no statutory requirement for a debate or vote, and parliament cannot amend treaties.

      • NickC
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Acorn, Fake. The UK Parliament has an official funded opposition, precisely to expose and debate such moves by a UK government. Unlike the EU. And because our votes for MPs in Parliament can change the government, there is a route to amend or scrap laws and treaties. Unlike the EU.

        • acorn
          Posted June 29, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

          Confused nonsense as usual NickC.

    • G Wilson
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Not according to the EU.

      From the Commission’s description of the trade and investment protection agreements:

      “Trade policy is an exclusive competence of the EU – so only the EU, and not individual Member States, can legislate on trade matters and negotiate international trade agreements, be they multilateral, regional or bilateral.”


      “The European Commission has submitted the proposals for signature and conclusion of both agreements to the Council. Once authorised by the Council, the agreements will be signed and presented to the European Parliament for consent. After the Parliament’s consent, the Council can conclude the trade agreement, and it can enter into force. The investment protection agreement will be ratified by Member States’ according to their national procedures.”

      The field is occupied by the Commission.

      • Pete S
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        “The European Commission has submitted the proposals for signature and conclusion of both agreements to the Council. Once authorised by the Council, ”

        That is my understanding, but also, not mentioned, that any country of the Council has a veto when it comes to trade treaties, is this still the case ??

      • Know-Dice
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        So why was the Canadian deal held up waiting for approval from the Belgium Wolloons?

      • Henry Carter
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        The field is not occupied by the Commission. The field is occupied by the EU. And that means that the member states, through the Council and Parliament, are ultimately in control of the process. As ever, you Brexiters fundamentally misunderstand the thing that you spend your every waking hour abusing.

    • Andy
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      It depends if the agreement the EU has concluded is a ‘Mixed agreement’ or not, that is to say if it covers areas which are not EU competences and are the preserve of member states. If the agreement is a mixed agreement it requires the consent of member states.

  2. Mark B
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Many of the South East Asian countries offer a very low wage regime at a time when jobs are being destroyed by the minimum wage. Those self checkouts did not appear because they were just new and shiny you know 😉

    Those countries that do not affect French farmers will always be favoured as they a no threat. But I wonder if such a deal comes with free movement of people like the EU demands of us ? Doubt it.

  3. Pominoz
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    I do share your concern, but your article, once again, highlights one more negative of being in the EU. We have at the moment, as I know you know, no option but to accept the way the EU does things, and this denies the right for any Nation State to have any direct control over trade deals.

    What this deal does highlight, however, is that the EU are perfectly happy to enter into free trade deals, probably with any country except the UK, without the need for them to pay vast ‘protection money’ to do so. Neither do they need to comply with the ‘four freedoms’ or be subject to ECJ rulings.

    Hopefully the UK will be treated similarly once we are free.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:43 am | Permalink

      What indeed are the positives of being under the thumb the EU?

      It is an anti-democratic, it bureaucrats and MEP are over paid (with special low taxes huge pensions and huge untaxed ‘expenses’), a bureaucrats knows best organisation that want to kill free speech, it is corrupt, self serving, left wing, high taxing, full of green lunacy and a bureaucratic nightmare.

      An embrio EUSSR with no mechanism for the public to stop this.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:49 am | Permalink


    • notsosimple
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      Pominoz I presume the money you refer to is the 39Bn- but that money is not payment for entering into a new deal, it is payment that is owing for past decisions made and so to get away from of our commitments and entanglements with them. Without the WA being settled there will be no movement on FTA or anything else- this despite what some of our leading ERG types like to think.

      • Andy
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        If the 39Bn is what you say you will be able to refer to the exact clause in the Treaties that creates such a liability, and as you cannot have liabilities without corresponding assets you’ll be able to tell us what value has been attached to everything from the building to the Claret in Juncker’s cellar. The 39Bn is a huge ‘bung’ and has no basis in EU Law nor in international law.

      • Barbara Castle
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        In the real world, commercial enterprises will not be cowed by the amateurs in Brussels and will continue to operate as they always have. If necessary, they will simply set their own interim terms and wait for the EU Middleman to catch up.

        As for commitments, are these things the UK government has truly committed to, or are they matters the EU has decided on a whim that we should be liable for? £39b is a huge amount of money to commit the UK taxpayer to funding without adequate explanation as to where the “debt” has come from, especially as we pay in far more than we get back.

      • Pominoz
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        The UK will, no doubt, honour its commitments incurred whilst a member of the EU – quite rightly. The £39 billion agreed in the WA appears in part to be a sop to getting an FTA. We should be paying absolutely nothing for a sensible trade deal, just like Vietnam and South Korea.

      • John-McHugh
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Wrong again.
        We are not legally obliged to pay anythi g. Even the Eu stated this 2-3 weeks ago

      • NickC
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Notsosimple, No, the £39bn is not payment for past decisions. There is no legal requirement to pay beyond what we would have paid if we had remained in the EU, up to the end of the current MFF. That is, we already pay in, and have been doing so since the decision to leave in June 2016. There are 18 months to the end of the MFF. At £12bn/year net, that amounts to a maximum of £18bn, less what the EU owes us. So the £39bn is mostly a bribe, or Danegeld, depending how you look at it.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        I am sure I will not be the only one, notsosimple, who will challenge you for your sources for this contention that it is payment ‘for past decisions made’. In the event of you deciding not to answer this challenge, then I’m afraid you simply identify yourself as yet another person on this site who spouts nonsense in the hope that some poor souls will be taken in.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      The U.K. is currently not a nation state, we have no Monarch (HM is a Suzerain), no Parliament and no British citizenship. There is only 1 citizenship, we are EU citizens and that was foisted upon us without any means to reject it.
      According to the UN’s own criteria, the U.K. does not qualify for a UN seat much less a place on the Security Council.
      We must Leave! No ifs no buts no compromise no dithering.

  4. Ian Wragg
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Does it include freedom of and final arbitration by the ECJ.
    Do they have to pay an annual fee to trade…….
    just asking

    • Peter Wood
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink


      You point out the reason we HAVE to leave on WTO terms, it is only when two parties approach the objective on equal terms, and want to do a deal that is fair and reasonable. I believe the nations of the EU wish to continue to trade with us on the present terms (ROI is going to be in HUGE trouble), it is only the EU bureaucracy that don’t want to, because we’re taking away their money and power.

      Of course, we never really tried to negotiate a free trade deal under Mrs May, she only ever wanted us to believe we had left without actually doing so, and then re-join fully later on.

  5. Excalibur
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    I see in the ‘Telegraph’, JR, a headline claiming Matt Hancock “steals a march in the race to become Boris’s chancellor.”

    Casting aside the doubt that there is such a race, and assuming that you would like to hold the office, have you made representations to Boris to be considered ?

    Reply Boris has made clear he is not offering government jobs to MPs before the result of the leadership election.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Javid looks to be strong favourite.

      Not that sure about him myself though.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      reply to reply….

      and has Hunt made clear he is not either, or more likely he has already done the ‘nod and wink’ to obtain votes in the contest up to now?

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Indeed why on earth allow the EU bureaucrat negotiators power over the UK in these matters they have little or no incentives to defend the interests of the UK. It must have Parliamentry controls. Such a shame most MPs are so dire too but at least we can evict or have some influence over them.

    So Hunt (the May nightmare continued candidate) has promised to retain free TV licences for the over 75s. Why should anyone have to pay a TV tax to the BBC for their lefty, greencrap, pro EU propaganda? They should stand on their own feet just like other broadcasters people to pay only if they choose to watch the BBC.

    So some daft actor has quite the RSC due to donations from BP. “I do not wish to be associated with BP any more than I would with an arms dealer, a tobacco salesman or anyone who wilfully destroys the lives of others alive and unborn. Nor, I believe, would William Shakespeare,”

    So does he ever use their products himself? How does he imagine the audiences get to the theatre, heat their homes, power their hospitals, get to and from work …..indeed how did he get to work? Even if he cycled he has to eat more and food production/distribuation uses lots of energy too.

    The problem with actors is that so many of them have almost zero understanding of science logic & reason and can only read other peoples lines without sounding as daft as a brush and as hypocritical as say first class flights Emma Thompson.

    • NickC
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, I wonder if this actor who said he does not wish to be associated with anyone: “who wilfully destroys the lives of others alive and unborn”, really does oppose abortion? Methinks not.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Hunt (the May nightmare continued candidate) has promised to retain free TV licences for the over 75s. Why should anyone have to pay a TV tax to the BBC for their lefty, greencrap, pro EU propaganda?
      The last Conservative manifesto promised the same. That was written down and ignored so this certainly will be. Follow the person, not their words.

  7. GilesB
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    All tariffs increase prices for consumers. I expect that yet again the fat cats in the Belgian chocolate business have protected themselves against any competition from producers in Vietnam. Why do they deserve protection?

    There should be a presumption of guilt: that the companies benefitting from the protection have bribed the negotiators. In order to counter the charge the companies concerned and/or the negotiators should publish for each tariff a justification. Yes this would entail publication of commercially sensitive information such as margins and return on capital, but transparency is the price from benefitting from the state’s support. Protection from competition is as valuable as grants and should receive the same public scrutiny given that the cost is all borne by the consumers

    • Mitchel
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      President Trump has weighed in against Vietnam this week pronouncing “Vietnam takes advantage of us even worse than China…it’s almost the single worst abuser of everbody.”China has been trans-shipping via Vietnam(and I believe Malaysia and Indonesia) to evade US tariffs.

      Although he did admit that Vietnam was a large buyer of West Virginian coal which “makes me happy.”

      The Vietnamese signed an FTA with Russia (on behalf of the Eurasian Economic Union) a couple of years ago which has produced quite a surge of trade between the two-and there has also been a lot of high level diplomatic to-ing and fro-ing between the two this year.

  8. J Bush
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    The point about not having any say in who we can and cannot trade with is well made.

    However, another relevant point is that Viet Nam does not have to accept ecj control, the EU telling them how to manage their Country, comply with any of the EU economic and migration directives, pay billions in order to just trade. And they certainly will not be agreeing to become a vassal satellite state of the EU.

    Which begs the huge elephant in the room question, if a tiny country like Viet Nam can trade without losing sovereignty, why do so many UK ‘politicians’ believe the 5th/6th largest economy in the World must stay in the EU, or in order to leave the EU the UK must become a vassal state?

    Yet the latter is apparently what leader candidate Hunt wants, by not discarding May’s’ vassal state treaty?

  9. Dominic
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Vietnam. Still a Marxist nation I see. Yes, to a FTA but let’s not mention the barbarity, oppression and destruction of civil society. One political party. No freedom of the press. Civil liberties suspended. Not too dissimilar to the UK in recent times

    Do they still have (detention? ed) in Vietnam. Is it only China and Cuba that operate ‘re-education’ programs these days?

    • NickC
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Dominic, Well, I know they eat dogs in Vietnam. Which I suppose is better than China using executed (or, worse, not executed) victims for body parts. In the West – up to now – we just get chucked off Twatter or Fakebook if we disoblige the establishment. Over there our fate would be more physical and permanent.

  10. margaret
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    If the UK is included in the agreement with Vietnam, when we become independent are we free immediately to make a new agreement or are we bound by a certain number of years of a contractual type before trying to re negotiate?

    • graham1946
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      If we were to conclude a trade agreement with Vietnam, the Andy’s, Newmania et al Remoaners would be saying ‘Is that the best you can do’? Now the EU has done it, no doubt it is a great triumph.

    • NickC
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Margaret, We leave the EU treaties, including treaties made by the EU on our behalf.

  11. Iain Gill
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    We buy a lot of fish from there.

    • Nicholas Murphy
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      If the EU decides to impose tariffs on British fish then we can buy a lot of fish from our own industry.

    • Simon
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      And poultry.

  12. agricola
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    While I am pleased for the people of Viet Nam, I think real success will come from western investment in manufacturing in Viet Nam. How good this will be for manufacturing in the EU is questionable. It all hangs on the commodity.

    In the case of disputes on this trade, who is the final arbritator, the ECJ or the WTO. Making such agreements subject to everybody in Europe and their Parliaments is possibly the biggest committee drag on trade. Few in our own Parliament know anything about trade but can produce 650 opinions on how to conduct it. Their opinions are unlikely to enhance trade. There are many in the population who do know but they are subject to the vagueries of the 650 who do not.

    • NickC
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Agricola, ECJ or WTO? Neither, in a sense. The EU, all EU subject states, and Vietnam are members of the WTO. Once ratified the EU-Vietnam trade treaty will therefore (and must) be registered as an RTA at the WTO. Consequently disputes between the EU and Vietnam will be resolved in the WTO. But Remains in particular, who are used to the top-down dirigiste confrontational methodology of the EU, will be unfamiliar with the WTO’s use of collegial arbitration.

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Boris is sensibly supporting a points based immigration system – letting good immigration in and keeping bad immigration out. So not a racist (EU criminal, non English speaker and benefit claimant good but a top Indian Engineer/Surgeon or Physicist bad – as now and as May supported.

    Why one earth did the foolish Theresa May rule out a points based system? One of the first of her countless and consistently wrong decisions.

    • John-McHugh
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      May rejected points based system because she is a globalist puppet.

  14. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    I assume UK has no right to reject it under the terms of the A50 extension to October ? In general I thought any individual state could reject a trade deal ?

    Waiting now for Margaret to come on here with some sneering remarks concluding a deal Vietnam and saying “what next, Swaziland and Togo ?”.

    • NickC
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Roy Grainger, Well, one of MH’s much vaunted EU trade deals is with the Faroe Isles.

  15. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Last night I watched Simon Reeve in Vietnam. He was investigating the coffee which (Robusta) is cheap and produced in vast quantities for coffee powder. There isn’t much else there.
    My question: Once we leave the EU trade with the EU will simply stop. We will be in the position of Australia and New Zealand when we joined the EU ourselves.
    Will (as usual) USA come to our rescue? Or will the Guardian readers object because of chlorinated chicken and President Trump, who has gone out of his way to be generous?
    If not the USA, to whom do we turn?
    Can anyone actually answer this question?

    Reply Our trade with the EU will continue!

    • libertarian
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Mike Stallard

      Trade will stop ? What ? Blimey mate . Yeh coz French people will stop buying iPhones on 31st October , No Italian will ever buy a Coldplay album again, No German will have access to a good bottle of Malt , None of the 27 will want to buy cancer scanners and other medical equipment made in UK

      If your understanding of people buying and selling things is THAT bad I suggest not posting


    • Fred H
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Mike….if trade were to stop, expect riots in certain EU countries. German goods, cars in particular are already feeling the pinch. R.hand drive cars stockpiled, production ceases, workers laid off. French agriculture, apples, cheese, wine etc rots in the lorries and on the land. Italian wines, fashion goods export plunges. Dutch flowers/bulbs wilt in the fields. Danish pigs will not have their bacon saved. Polish food export to feed the vast UK Polish workers will stop. Spanish tomatoes, other veg will not be sold to UK. So, in summary, I think urgent measures will be taken to ensure EU can export to UK.

    • NickC
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard, Seriously, I am interested – why, and on what grounds, do you suppose all UK trade with the EU “will simply stop”?

  16. steadyeddie
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    EU signs a trade deal and it is posed as a problem. If we were to leave then there are all these wonderful opportunities to sign beneficial trade deals. Such hypocritical view is typical of the misleading leave campaign that is turning people back towards remain- viz. latest opinion polls.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink


      Actually the latest polls show leave at 57%

      If you knew the first thing about trade ( you dont ) you would understand that some deals PROTECT the signatories market and some deals HURT the market .

      Its why people that understand trade and business are majority leavers , whilst Remainers naively believe that only governments organise trade

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Steadyeddie, do at least try to read other people’s posts! If you’d bothered to do that, you could have avoided making yourself look so silly

    • NickC
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Steadyeddie, Which latest opinion polls? Why do you think opinion polls are more important than the actual Referendum result? Why do you think trade deals are necessary?

  17. Bryan Harris
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    We should at least have a say in such agreements but our governments have continued to surrender powers to the EU, so we are where we are.
    As just one of a bunch, our needs are less than the rest combined, besides, the EU elite will always have their own agenda when negotiating – so we might as well confess that while in the EU we will be dictated to.

    I suppose this means, that on the long shot that we do finally escape the clutches of the EU, that we will inherit this agreement, until it can be renegotiated on better terms

  18. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Had it been subject to a Parliamentary vote the Europhile Conservative party would have passed it into law just as they did with the VAT amendments that your party voted in two days ago.

    It is your party Sir John that is stopping us leaving the EU.

  19. Iain Gill
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I listened in dispair to Boris discussing immigration, realise how profoundly wrong he is about (foreign ed) nationals coming in to work in information technology. He has swallowed the hype from the outsourcing movement, and failed to listen to Brits who know the pitfalls.

    It doesn’t matter how skilled an immigrant is, if they are coming with skills already in oversupply it causes problems. As true at the higher end of the skills spectrum as at the bottom.

    It’s sad that the political class are ignoring the realities, and not moving their thoughts on.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Iain Gill

      For the last time, stop lying. There is no oversupply in technology skills . Outsourcing is when work is shipped to another country

      Its sad that because you have a problem in the company you work for you think it applies to the rest of the industry. It doesn’t

      Ive pointed you to many links, reports and papers on skill shortages in the UK

      • Iain Gill
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        Re “For the last time, stop lying.” nope not true.

        Re “There is no oversupply in technology skills” there are many skills in which there is oversupply, AND EVEN THE GOVERNMENTS OWN MIGRATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE AGREES

        Re “Outsourcing is when work is shipped to another country” thats just part of what outsourcing is, there is near shoring, off shoring, and so much more, offshoring deals often demand a local presence for the customer facing stuff, etc.

        Re “Its sad that because you have a problem in the company you work for” absolutely miles off the mark

        Re “you think it applies to the rest of the industry” I have been a senior player in many different parts of the industry and seen it from lots of different perspectives

        If you actually listened occasionally to the things I said, and didnt pad the things I have said with things you think I believe but dont, you may actually learn something

        Your attitude leaves a lot to be desired

        There are lots of detailed points which the politicians should understand, but they dont even “get” the high level summary, and people like you are just misdirecting people from the truth

        • Iain Gill
          Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

          and I should have said re “AND EVEN THE GOVERNMENTS OWN MIGRATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE AGREES” and that is despite the migration advisory committee spending an awful lot of time listening to lobbying from those companies, trade bodies, and so on which make a lot of money importing cheap workers, and hardly any time at all listening to British practitioners who have seen those organisations close up. so even with a completely unbalanced approach to gathering the evidence they still come to the conclusion that there is an oversupply in many skills, I wonder what they would say if they spent an equal time looking at both sides of the argument.

    • Richard1
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      its absolutely critical to UK competitiveness, especially in the tech sector, that businesses have access to the best possible people globally, that immigration laws enable them to come and to stay, and that tax and other laws encourage them to do so. The last thing we should do is put up the drawbridge so we cannot access the best global talent.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        Re “its absolutely critical to UK competitiveness, especially in the tech sector, that businesses have access to the best possible people globally” to some degree this is true. BUT often imports are only here because they are cheaper, not the best, displace locals from the workforce, depress wages, discourage locals from training in that specialty as they can see all the jobs are being given to foreigners, are used to systematically steal British intellectual property and moved abroad to undercut this country, and so on. Many of the ways they system works need fixing, for instance the big tax perks given to people using folk on work visas help foreign nationals undercut locals even when they are getting paid the same.

        I dont want to “put up the drawbridge”, indeed I have worked abroad a lot myself, including in the tech sector in the US where I could easily have got permanent residency etc. I was that foreigner working abroad in a complex industry, I am sympathetic to their issues. But I always brought skills genuinely rare in that locality, I always paid at least as much tax as the locals, and so on.

        So all of these issues need to be listened to!

    • Iain Gill
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      apparently Hunt thinks we need open doors immigration because of the high levels of illiteracy among the native population, you literally couldnt make up such crass statements, even the Labour party wouldnt dare say such obvious nonsense

  20. RAF
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    More detail on this trade deal is available at:

    facts4eu – Why does EU want to treat UK worse than Vietnam

    Interesting to know that the Juncker appointed Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, had no experience of trade.
    We shouldn’t feel too left out and abused, from the news yesterday the EU is trying to treat Switzerland worse than Vietnam. As the article at facts4eu states, one can’t help but feel that geographic domination, along with their ideological stance, both play a big part in the EU’s raison d’être.

    • Richard1
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      i’d like to know why equivalence on sanitary and phytosanitary regs works as regards Vietnam for the EU but not in Ireland?

    • Nicholas Murphy
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Increasingly, the EU acts not like a state but like an empire. The EU’s treatment of Switzerland shames it.

  21. Sharon Jagger
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I agree with Pominoz “I do share your concern, but your article, once again, highlights one more negative of being in the EU. ”

    It seems that an increasing number of things are being agreed without going through Parliament…including our membership extensions. Generally, that’s not how Britain works is it?

  22. Caterpillar
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Some confusion following Rome Treaty on definition of exclusive competence for EU. Cleaned up with Lisbon Treaty so EU has exclusive competence for Trade(G&S), IPR, public procurement and FDI – this is basically the consequence of being in a very large customs union that requires common commercial policy. FDI and investment protection issues not well defined with Lisbon hence the ECJ case regards the EU-Singapore deal. Thus, EU-Singapore and EU-Vietnam deals are split into two parts, the major FTA part and a separate investment protection part. The investment protection part has to go through national ratification, the FTA part is only acted on at EU level i.e. Council’s approval and EU parliament consent.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      That comment was supposed to be in answer to Pete S.

  23. Richard1
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Odd that equivalence over sanitary and phytosanitary matters works for Vietnam but not for Ireland in the eyes of the EU. What if Vietnam judges eg chlorine washed chicken to be safe?!

  24. Richard1
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Will you be doing a response to the Japanese foreign minister urging the UK to make sure it only leaves the EU with the EU’s approval? If it does so on the basis of the draft WA agreed by mrs May, but fortunately not yet by the UK, the UK will not be able to run an independent trade policy. More needs to be made of this eg by BBC interviewers, but of course never is.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      The Japanese used the deal with the EU, to pull out car production from UK without hesitation. Why should we now be concerned for them?

  25. Lifelogic
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Jeremy Hunt has promised to wipe tuition fee debt for young entrepreneurs who launch their own business after leaving university.

    What a silly ill thought out gimmick that would be. These PPE graduates really are quite daft.

    Firstly most student loans will not be fully repaid anyway and someone who starts a company can easily keep their own salary down to below £25K so that they do not repay anything. Secondly why should such people have any advantage over employees working just at hard? A far better way to assist new businesses would be to sort out some real competition in largely rip off and badly regulated banking.

    Still it would be very good for people in my position as I could just move five of my staff to each of my three children’s newly formed companies and get all their student loans written off. Not that Hunt is likely to win or do it (even if he does win)!

    The real problem with student loans is that about 50- 70% of university degrees are fairly worthless and certainly not worth the £50K of debt plus the three years loss of income that these fairly worthless degrees (often in worthless subjects too) cost. Why are hard working tax payers having to fund soft loans for such worthless things? Learning on the job with some night school or training courses etc. is much more sensible for most people.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Plus James Brokenshire claims he is going to may building houses easier. Well perhaps – just get the government and LEAs out of the way and cut the greencrap OTT building regs.

      But the main obstacle currently is that bank lending for development is very expensive and restrictive due to a lack of competition and misguided regulations on banks.

    • Al
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      My first thought is what’s to stop someone simply registering a company for £70, never trading, and simply wiping their university debt that way? Even with the extra costs of Making Tax Digital, that’s a huge saving at the taxpayers’ expense. Ignoring the possibility of fraud, the high percentage of businesses which fail in the first few years makes this an ineffective initiative.

      The funds would do better to cover grants, loans, and expenses for start-ups, rather than for one type of founders’ personal benefit.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      As you say, just pay dividends and you don’t need to pay it off anyway. Stupid non-idea.

  26. Kevin
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    The Remainers within Parliament should be asked if they think the signing
    of an FTA is a bad deal for Vietnam since, presumably, they believe it would be
    more beneficial for the former French territory to be part of the EU,
    much like French Guiana. Do they think Vietnam had no choice but to say
    yes to the EU’s position, without any option to walk away from the table?

  27. hans christian ivers
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    Are you proposing that all 28 Parliaments should scrutinise each trade-agreement and approve them?

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Tim Hammond above at 0740 wrote: “However I believe the UK will have already approved it at previous stages.”

      So which is it, the 28 have a choice or not?

    • Fred H
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Hans – – why not? Or are you happy to be ruled by a handful of dictators, with a look back in anger to history.

    • NickC
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Hans, That’s why it’s better for us to be independent. Then we can make trade deals to suit us, and not be subject to those that suit mainly France and Germany.

    • Steve
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:23 pm | Permalink


      Yes they should, if it affects them. It’s called democracy, something Europeans never really understood.

  28. Everhopeful
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    So let the EU in their mad dash for zero carbon count the carbon emissions of the products they have outsourced and will now be importing.
    World without borders. Can’t ring fence emissions. Its only FAIR…innit?
    Will Germany stop using the products of heavy industry?( when does it ever abide by EU regs?)
    Makes no difference to the planet where it is made.
    Oh yes..and bye bye to UK being a “major economy”.

    • Steve
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:21 pm | Permalink


      “when does it [Germany] ever abide by EU regs?”

      Does any country on the continent abide by EU regs ? No, they don’t. Regs are only there for the purpose of reducing UK competitiveness.

  29. Fed up with the bull
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Well if anyone thinks animal welfare will be taken into account they need their heads testing. Animal welfare isn’t even as high as here in parts of Europe within the EU. I await with bated breath for the day we ask for a free trade agreement and see what the answer will be.

  30. Nig l
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Off topic but current. Boris says there is a million to one chance of a No Deal. To the rest of us it looks the most certain. Does he know something we don’t or back sliding?

    • Newmania
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      I can`t see any destination but a Brexit election. With Corbyn tacitly approving the decimation of jobs and impoverishment of the country the clear majority against Brexit may well be shut out by first past the post
      Then further delay and eventually Theresa May`s deal more or less
      It defies belief that a majority Remain country is being kicked into this disaster and the ongoing loathing for those responsible will be the new political landscape

      • NickC
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        Newmania, We had a binary national Referendum. The outcome must be implemented, so that the majority Leave voters don’t get shut out, damaging democracy irreparably.

        Only a few fanatical Remains want to stay in the EU and see the decimation of jobs and impoverishment of our nation, as already imposed by the EU on their own southern satrapies. It defies belief that a majority Leave nation is being kicked into a Remain disaster; and the ongoing loathing for those responsible is the new political landscape.

      • Steve
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink


        FYI; remain are the minority.

    • Cornishstu
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      This is my main concern, whilst Boris is best of the bunch is he actually going to deliver a true Brexit.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted June 27, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        No. How can he ? Only TBP can, after the next GE.

    • John-McHugh
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      If the Eu were to reject the obvious route with Gatt XXIV on WTO with a view to a future FTA being nehotiated in due couse then it is quite obvious that the Eu are playing the bad guys and will show them up in the cool.light of day.
      They have no reason to not sign up for this as it suits everyone.

  31. Mark
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I imagine that the EU import Vietnamese coffee, as they are now one of the world’s largest producers. The EU seem to specialise in trade agreements where the volume of trade is small.

    Incidentally, while researching trade in lamb, I discovered a pre-referendum document that complained that the EU was making no effort to improve export markets for British lamb through tariff negotiations, while Australia and New Zealand had already negotiated zero tariffs in important markets like China.

  32. Jagman84
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Jean-Claude Juncker’s statement;
    “There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties” sums up the whole ethos of the EU. Come 2022, their journey to a to totalitarian state will be concluded. It appears that some of your colleagues, Sir John, wish for the UK to be in at the finish.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Well no democracy at all in reality. Just a superficial (and very expensive) fake veneer of one.

  33. Nicholas Murphy
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I see that negotiations were concluded as long ago as December 2015. Not sure when they started but this really is very slow progress. I’m sure that an independent UK can do better.

  34. Christine
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Let’s see if the Chlorinated Chicken brigade will be as vocal about the shocking practises carried out on Vietnamese prawn farms. We need better labelling about where our food is coming from and how humanly animals have been raised and slaughtered.

  35. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Wrong solution; we just need to leave.

  36. BillM
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    If we run our own Trade negotiations, we would ensure that Britain would not lose out on any deal. However, when the EU negotiates a Trade deal on our behalf, what are the chances that Britain will gain the deal it wants?
    How many British firms were represented during ANY of the EU Trade negotiations with the those countries in the Rest of the World?And how British consumer Groups consulted were during the process? ’nuff said?
    If this country wants do do things in its own way, unhindered by outside interference, there is no alternative to completely Leaving the EU. Only then can we have full Independence from those foreign manipulations and corruptible influences.

  37. Steve
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    “The provisions on animal welfare are unclear”

    That’ll be because there is no such thing in Asia, and from what I’ve seen in my lifetime animal welfare isn’t a priority throughout much of Europe either.

  38. Steve
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Off topic but relevant to trade –

    Vauxhall’s owners, the french PSA, are saying that the new astra will be built in the UK and will save 1,000 jobs…..but not if we leave the EU without a deal.

    Sounds like threats to me. Time we responded by threatening to ban all french cars from the UK.

    Do we have anyone in government with the balls to stick it to the french ? I doubt it.

    It’ll be down to us not to buy French cars.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 27, 2019 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      No problem for me Steve.

    • jane4brexit
      Posted June 28, 2019 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      On a far smaller point, but large if we all started/stopped buying it, Somerset brie is far better than French in my opinion!

      • Original Richard
        Posted June 28, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        I have not bought any French agricultural products since 1990 when French farmers set fire to one truckload of live British sheep, killing 219 of them as well as poisoning, slitting throats and dousing others with insecticide.

        I have not found it a problem and as you say, our brie is far better anyway.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 28, 2019 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      the only cars they sell worth buying are the Astras. Not the Peugeots or Citroens thanks.

  39. Deborah
    Posted June 27, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    I suspect this wil benefits the French, it is an ex-French colony.

  40. Original Richard
    Posted June 28, 2019 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    The problem with the EU and trade deals is that there are so many countries, each with their own economic interests, that it makes making trade deals very difficult unless there is mechanism to compensate those areas or countries which lose out in any deal which is negotiated for the total benefit of the whole trade bloc.

    This compensation mechanism does not yet exist for the EU which has led to unequal gains from existing trade deals, including within the SM/CU itself.

    This is also why our NHS is in fact safer if we are outside the EU as it can then not be traded by the EU in return for cheaper tariffs on German cars and French food.

  • 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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