Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Still no clue at the FT

James Blitz at the FT offers his "insight" on the state of play in the Brexit negotiations.
The way out of this dilemma is to use the transitional period as a financial tool. During that period the UK will have to pay the equivalent of its current contributions. In our view, the period is likely to be longer than the UK officially admits, simply for technical reasons. A five-year transition period could deal with all of the outstanding claims, leave enough time for an FTA to be negotiated and ratified, and give business time to prepare for the post-Brexit future.
So apparently five years is all that is needed to perform the legal engineering miracle of the Great Repeal Bill, rebuild all our domestic regulators, design and equip our own enforcement regime, our own market surveillance systems and customs software. Five years is apparently all the British state and UK industry needs to transition into an FTA, the contents of which are still a mystery.

In all likelihood we will get nowhere close to a finalised deal in five years. A transition period cannot even begin until such an agreement is concluded and then we are looking at ten years at least to have all the systems in place. Since a transitional status itself would take some years to negotiate there is only really one status we can have - EU membership with no voting rights for as long as it takes.

In that regard, this is in keeping with Theresa May's Lancaster House speech. She said we couldn't be half in, half out. It seems that we will be all the way in for a long while, until we are out. All the time in the world for Brexit to be parked permanently. Since David Davis doesn't know what he wants, what is needed, or how to get it, it increasingly looks like Brexit is a wet fart.

We are told that the debate on the single market is settled. David Davis thinks he knows how to get frictionless trade without it. He's grasping at straw, plucking concepts out of the air with zero comprehension as to what they mean. When it gets down to it he will hit brick wall after brick wall. Trusted trader schemes and AEO cannot happen without regulatory harmonisation, mutual recognition is not going to work and there has to be an arbitration body and that will be dominated by the ECJ. Since he doesn't want Efta, that's his only option.

This prompts some in industry to start asking what they can do to prepare for such an arrangement. I would venture that there is nothing to be done. We lack the competence and the knowledge to deliver anything other than a total shambles - one so unpredictable as to render preparation useless. With this level of upfront denial, hostility and ignorance, unless there is a change of tack, this can only descend further into farce.

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