Monday, 18 January 2016

A helping hand from the europhiles

As much as Stronger In and British Influence have been somewhat helpful in helping us beat the Leave campaigns into shape, (albeit unwittingly), we now have Jude Kirton-Darling helping to demonstrate a point we make all too frequently that modern "trade deals", in this instance the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), are largely agreements to enforce existing standards, regulations and protocols from the global level. In this instance we note the words "to ensure that the eight fundamental International Labour Organisation conventions are respected".

Insomuch as Britain does not have an independent vote in ratifying TiSA, it has no right of veto - and the same applies in those ILO avenues where the EU assumes exclusive competence. Failing that, the EU can conspire to sign agreements on our behalf.

What we do note is that Norway has its own independent WTO vote and right of reservation and has been an active participant in the TiSA agreement, able to shape it in ways that Britain cannot. We also note that Norway operates entirely independently at the ILO. It has influence in the fundamentals before it goes anywhere near lowly MEPs.

Of course it's worth digging deeper into TiSA just to see what other global codes and conventions are involved and I suspect it's a lot more interesting than the title suggest. But the take home point is that the EU is not the be all and end all of influence, and participation, and as we noted just recently, our voice is muted while we remain in the EU to the detriment of important industries.

As much as international conventions and standards already make up the substance of single market rules, the direction of travel is for continued globalisation of regulation - and it is at the top tables where we are most likely to exert influence. For that though, we must first leave the EU.

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