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I can't see how May can survive as the A50 process comes to an end. Either she negotiates a deal which hard Brexiteers will hate causing them to oppose it in Parliament leading to her defeat, (No deal is better than a bad deal!), Or she will reject the outcome of negotiations and lose the support of a handful of Tories fearful of a cliff edge Brexit and who will argue (rightly) that the referendum campaign never gave anyone a mandate for a no-deal Brexit.

From an EU perspective, no one owes May anything. She hasn't built a friendly relationship with anyone. So why would they give her a good deal she will simply crow over and claim that she has her cake and is eating it at the hapless EU's expense? This is now a zero sum game, and the issue is to ensure the other side loses more. And getting an A50 extension is a non-starter unless a deal is very close or unless an election causes the EU to pause to see what any new government will do.

So the EU will play hardball and support Ireland's claim not to have customs controls on the Border (for a limited period - pending implementation) in compensation for throwing it to the wolves otherwise.  There will be a "double doors" customs solution with Irish Customs at air and sea ports charged with implementing tariffs for any goods originating in the UK. Private or small business cross border trade within Ireland will be ignored and only large businesses charged with implementing despatch and receipt controls on any cross-border traffic.

This will help deal with internal production/supply chain issues where the same goods can cross the border several times - allowing those businesses to net off goods going one way on the way back. VAT returns and and BEPS require similar system controls. It could mean that agricultural produce like milk could travel to the North for further processing into butter/cheese/Baileys and onward despatch to Britain. Whether the UK will chose to control that trade is their business (opposed by the DUP!), but any food coming into Ireland via the North will be controlled by Certificate of origin controls - so US genetically modified produce will not be allowed onto the shop shelves. Most Irish food is now traceable to farm level for disease/quality control purposes in any case.

Five Supermarket chains dominate almost all Irish food retailing - Supervalue/Centra (Musgraves), Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Aldi and Lidl. They are already required to label food with country of origin etc. It should be relatively easy for Customs to ensure any non-EU food coming in via N. Ireland has paid the appropriate tariff by having a customs officer stationed at their distribution centres. They already have customs officers stationed within the fermentation process in Guinness.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 20th, 2017 at 07:03:56 PM EST
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