You do know it was the UK who originally proposed these terms? Unless you can put in clear triggers, which both sides haven’t figured out how to do, you need one side or the other to be the arbiter of when its done. Given that this is the UK making the request, the EU is the one which gets to be the arbiter.

Also, the UK tariffs move is I believe only in the event of a hard exit.


Tariff free arrangements could be leverage. While it would exclude dairy and beef, tariff quotas could overcome the Irish problem ( and maintain some protection for the domestic sector) by introducing country specific tariff free quotas based on historic levels - but would need to be WTO consistent.
The UK is a major agricultural market for other EU. Average EU agricultural tariffs are 23%, but much higher in certain sectors, virtually precluding non EU suppliers in such sectors. . The thought of the EU having to compete against the likes of Canada,Australia, NZ, Brazil and USA in some sectors would alarm many EU producers.
And it would give the UK flexibility. It would be free to revert to the WTO bound rates at any time.


Under a hard Brexit the UK can’t offer different tariffs to the EU than anyone else. So whether they’re both 0%, 23% or something else, Britain has no leverage with respect to the EU there.


But - the EU would have to compete in the UK market against all other WTO competitors at the same rates of import protection, while being a relatively high cost producer in certain sectors. Has not done this for close to 5O years
And, the UK could go about cutting WTO consistent free trade deals with third countries which would disadvantage EU suppliers further.
The difficulty for third country suppliers is the uncertainty of the time period that would come with the UK non-application of tariffs. Not conducive to investment in processing or production increases for less processed products with long production cycles. Could mean that the EU would be needed to meet UK import demand in the short term.


Article XIII of GATT 1947 ( part of WTO rules) allows for county specific tariff quotas. That is cover for the UK to allocate tariff quotas favouring certain Irish beef and dairy products where Ireland is the dominant supplier. EU and third country competitors would give it close scrutiny, but it is not in principle WTO inconsistent. The EU has a few such arrangements . Australia itself has benefitted from such arrangements in the US and other markets
Failing all else, the UK could do a Trump and invoke the GATT Article XXI (b) security exceptions provisions to justify special provisions for Ireland


They’ll end up at a 2nd ref IMO. Said it from the start, and I still can’t see the end result being anything else. There are a shitload of folks who voted leave on the back of all the bullshit, who have now realised how severely to shoot themselves in the foot/head, they actually voted for.

The only other way to resolve it is for England/GB to get the fk out of Ireland completely at last, and give the Irish back the land they stole from them, … and whilst they’re at it, they can give the Greeks back the shitt they stole from them too.


this doesnt seem to intimate that EU would suffer badly from agricultural exports to UK, Would think the UK would suffer more


Not how I read it. EU27 enjoys a favourable agricultural trade balance with the UK. On the basis of modelling against the post Brexit MFN WTO bound tariff rate of the UK ( and anticipated higher UK non tariff barriers) the authors have estimated that EU27 agricultural exports to the UK would decrease by US34 billion. The effects would be uneven, but Ireland would be stuffed without special treatment.
Makes sense. If you are an EU exporter to UK, you presently enjoy zero tariff against tariff faced by third country exporters of at least 23% and in some cases more than double that rate. And, if you are a high cost producer - and there is less money in the EU agricultural budget post Brexit?
I imagine ABARE has done some studies on implications for Australia under different scenarios.


I’m probably misunderstanding the points being made above, but are Ireland - whilst in the EU - allowed by the EU to cut a special tarrif deal with the UK that other EU nations don’t have access to?


You will be sorry you asked …
No it’s EU or nothing. Ireland cannot negotiate separately from the EU.
But post Brexit the UK could unilaterally grant the concession favouring Ireland , provided it is done in a way that meets WTO rules on country specific tariff quotas. For example, if the UK were to apply a tariff free quantitative quota divided among the main historical suppliers, after which the product would be subject to a higher tariff ( but not limited by quantity) up to the WTO bound rate. Such arrangements are not uncommon and may be bound in a WTO member’s tariff schedule . I’ve been involved in negotiations of this sort over the years.
I think in this case the UK would not want to grant the concession on a WTO - bound basis, pending where it goes.
The UK would also be free to apply straight tariffs on any product ( on an MFN basis) at any level it likes , up to the WTO bound level.
The UK post Brexit would also be free to negotiate free trade arrangements with third countries, but could not have separate agreements with Member States. At the same time, it could have an arrangement with the EU as a whole, which might favour products of specific interest to Ireland.
The problem with the soft Brexit customs union is that the UK would have the terms imposed on it for an indefinite period, locked into EU tariffs and non tariff measures such as standards and would not have the capacity to enter trade deals with third countries.
I can’t imagine what it must be like for traders, not knowing what tariffs will apply within 2 weeks. Normally, trade deals have a delay of years before they enter into force.


Ok, I actually, kinda, follow that.

But does that get around the hard/soft border problem with Eire/NI or the Irish sea? Because without a customs union the cross border passage of goods is still a problem on the EU side, and Eire believe is in breach of, or risks , the Belfast accord ? I think?


As I understand it, the hard option involves the UK applying tariffs at zero - to all WTO members - except for dairy and beef, where some tariff quota arrangements favouring Ireland would apply, which would pretty much maintain the status quo on Irish exports to the UK.
I don’t know how much trade goes on between Ireland and Northern Ireland in those products compared to the mainland. But it could be managed by a certificate system, obviating the need for border checks, and where smuggling could be contained
For all other products, it would be as you were for imports from Ireland.
Under this scenario, UK exports to Ireland would be subject to the EU tariff. Exports to Ireland via Northern Ireland could also be managed by some sort of pre paid tariff certification delivered at the point of destination. As it is, some customs clearance is not done at thenational border but at designated customs clearance points closer to the point of consumption. Smuggling is manageable.

I doubt that the UK would export much agriculture to Ireland and EU tariffs on other goods are low to minimal.


May needs @bigallan on the plane and in the UK at trade negotiations asap.


A public servant’s worst nightmare. Ministers ignore all their advice of the consequences of government decisions and of better options which would cause least damage to secure objectives. Now the public servants are expected to solve the government created problems and will be hit on if their proposed compromises don’t get the government over the line.
It is a regular event when the government ignores all advice, what the public servants predicted comes to pass, public servants get the blame and are taken to the cleaners at Senate Estimates and by journalists, Ministers walk away from the public servants,
I don’t blame May for this. She inherited a ■■■■ sandwich.


I’ve seen Yes, Minister.

Reckon Sir Humphrey holds his own in manipulating what he wants. :slightly_smiling_face:



The world has changed. Access by public servants to Ministers is ring fenced by enormous numbers of 25 year old advisors stuck in the Canberra bubble who don’t have a clue about what goes on outside.
Howard was a bit smarter than that, he relied on Sidonidis, then a former Treasury officer who maintained contacts with public servants and would do reality checks with them on some of the wilder staffer-driven ideas of some Ministers.


The interim review of the Australian public service, released today , has identified problems in relation to Ministerial staffers and public servants access to Ministers.
It is a huge problem with the Trump Administration and maybe also in the UK - could explain the series of stupid decisions on Brexit which have severely damaged the economy and the UK population, as well as the UK’s capacity to have any influence at the international level.
So much for Boris Johnson and making Great Britain great again.


Senator Reynolds media advisor is 21.


You see the World through the eyes of the Public Service.

For better or worse government at all levels is elected to govern, and public servants role is to offer advice and get on with government policy even when it goes against that advice.

The dilemma is that government can take no action or have no policy direction, leaving the public service to its own devices.