Ending The UK’s Free Trade Fantasies

Published on Social Europe.eu (first on European Politics and Policy EUROPP blog, by Mark Manger, Jan 27, 2017.

… Theresa May’s highly anticipated speech on 17 January showed that slowly but surely, the UK government is realising the constraints of global trade rules. At last, the aims regarding future relations with the EU are becoming clear: Britain will leave the single market, end the free movement of EU citizens to the UK, set its own tariffs, but also seek a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU … //

… A few points remain on which reality has not fully set in: For example, Britain may want to remain part of specific programmes – including the European research area, of which, for example, Israel is a member. This would require the contribution of substantial funds, as British universities receive far more than the UK pays in. More importantly, the UK will learn that it cannot set its own trade policies for cars and lorries destined for the EU market. In the North American Free Trade Agreement, the US forced Mexico to start charging duties on parts from Europe and Japan that went into the production of cars in Mexico for the US market. The European Commission is well aware of this precedent; in fact it was among the factors prompting the EU-Mexico free trade agreement. Whatever Theresa May promised to Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is unlikely to survive the final bargaining round.

The general parameters of an EU-UK free trade agreement can therefore be predicted. Clearly, this policy choice comes with a significant economic cost in terms of market access, but the government appears willing to make such a trade-off. In principle, such an agreement should not even take long to negotiate. That it took months for the government to sort out its position and understand basic principles of global trade rules, however, suggests that it is still not listening to Whitehall enough. Or perhaps, as feared by many, that the government still lacks an understanding of essential trade policy principles. Building up such capacity now is imperative if the UK is to be able to secure a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU in a reasonable time frame.

(full text).


ANTI-GLOBALISATION: Trump is only hope we have – Dr Paul Craig Roberts (interview), 36.40 min, uploaded by Smidge TV, Jan 28, 2017 … globalism is disease that benefits only few oligarchs and if we want to defeat them Trump is only hope we have. British people voted to exit EU but now three punk judges are holding Brexit (see also: What is the Royal Prerogative? Supreme Court Brexit case begins, on Express.co.uk, by REISS SMITH, Dec 5, 2016: the Supreme Court has begun a hearing which will decide whether Theresa May can legally use the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50, the mechanism that will begin the Brexit process);

Police in Swedish city appeal for public help amid upward spiral of violence, on RT, Jan 28, 2017: police in the Swedish city of Malmö made an urgent plea for locals to assist them in solving scores of serious crimes, including dozens of attempted killings, murders, beatings, rapes and other offenses as police struggle to grapple with a spike in violence …;
Space 360, first in space, 0.22 min (in six languages); (also on YouTube, … more in autoplay)

The Paris Peace Conference, signaling an end to a western-dominated era? on ZNet, by Ramzy Baroud, Jan 27, 2017: no, it was not just ‘another Middle East peace conference,’ as a columnist in Israeli ‘Jerusalem Post’ attempted to depict the Paris Peace Conference held on January 15, with top official representations from 70 countries attending. If it was, indeed, just ‘another peace conference’, representatives from the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority (PA) would have attended as well …; (also on Counterpunch and other medias);

Why there’s no such thing as a quick trade deal, on Left Foot Forward, by Jos Gallacher, Jan 27, 2017: as Theresa May arrives in Washington, Jos Gallacher explains the complexity of her task;

Ireland: Councillor says ex-cons get preferential treatment for houses, on Connaht Tribune, by Enda Cunningham, Jan 27, 2017;

The ZAD, an autonomous zone in the heart of France, on ROARmag, by Martin Legall, Jan 26, 2017: in a heroic struggle of solidarity and resistance, locals and activists of the ZAD have been fighting against the construction of an airport for many years; (ZAD = Zone à défendre, or Zone to Defend).

Theresa May talks tough – but the EU doesn’t have to, on Left Foot Forward, by Alessio Colonnelli, Jan 26, 2017: what EU officials can learn from Mexico’s President – Theresa May’s stance on Brexit has sought to reinforce an image of herself as a ‘tough cookie’, especially as she tried to place government before parliament. The EU’s hostile reaction was party a response to this, but it has also something to do with its own ingrained habits and a certain sense of entitlement – a bit like a big bank that knows it’s too big to fail …;

Ireland: Economy on truth reveals an alternative world view, on Connaht Tribune, by Harry McGee, Jan 26, 2017: in these fledgling days of the Trump era, we now know that current affairs narrative can be moulded in any way you like so that it fits your world view – or indeed your prejudices …;

Turkey faces long and difficult fight against Isis in Syria, on The Independent.co.uk, by Patrick Cockburn, Jan 25, 2017: the slow military progress at al-Bab shows Turkey’s growing military engagement in Syria is coming at a price;

Democratize the union, let the rank-and-file decide, on ROARmag, by Alexander Kolokotronis, Jan 25, 2017: to revitalize labor unions, workers themselves will have to be put in control. Applying participatory budgeting to dues allocation would be a good start;

Commentary: What if “alternative facts” spread to economic data? on CBSnews, by Mark Thoma, Jan 24, 2017;

Uwe Steimle:

again: Glenn Greenwald nails the Charlie Hebdo affair, on Paul Craig Roberts.org, by Glenn Greenwald, Jan 11, 2015;

… and this:

Comments are closed.