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Except that no trade at all, for the UK, would imply famine.

As for other countries needing to prepare for more border checks, no other country would have the same level of increase as the UK - because for the UK, we are talking of 60% of its trade being affected.

For the EU, it's on average around 6%. That can be ramped up much more easily.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Aug 11th, 2017 at 05:56:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But but but... the UK will conclude all sorts of wonderful trade deals for food from commonwealth and Latin American countries in a matter of minutes after Brexit is completed replacing those dastardly over-priced and over-regulated EU imports...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 11th, 2017 at 06:32:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You'll still need to process them at customs...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Aug 16th, 2017 at 08:09:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not if they come straight from Commonwealth and Latin American countries straight into the UK as part of these wonderful new trade deals incorporating new customs unions...

BTW, what is to prevent the UK now, at an official but deniable level, i.e. not at a formal political level, from negotiating trade deals with third parties which will only be announced, signed, and implemented within weeks after Brexit is complete?

Sure EU members are not supposed to engage in independent trade negotiations, but have "informal discussions" with third parties all the time. The outcome of these informal discussions can then be formalised very quickly post Brexit.  They will in any case often be modelled on EU trade deals with the letters "EU" replaced by "UK". Weaker third world trading partners (the sort UK prefers) will have little choice but to agree - perhaps encouraged by few bribes to key participants.

I would be surprised if UK ambassadors around the world are not already engaged in such subterfuge.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 16th, 2017 at 11:22:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you need much more than a trade deal. And a customs union quickly grows in complexity - you will have to have all participants agreeing when a new one joins.
I did detect your sarcasm, don't worry.

As for the rest, of course you can initiate something. But the kind of full-blown negotiations that would allow a treaty to be ready to sign would be hard to keep at deniable level.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Aug 16th, 2017 at 12:52:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But all those goods already have to be customs cleared in the UK port of entry, as it will usually be the first port of discharge inside the EU.

The additional customs work really "only" pertains to the 80 % or so of UK trade that is with the EU-26.

But really the logistics of customs clearing is the least of the issues - nowhere near every import is currently inspected anyway, so you can simply cut the inspection rate by 80 % and proceed as before, at least while you build capacity.

The documentation requirements that go along with imposing a hard customs border are much more onerous than the physical inspection regime.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 16th, 2017 at 05:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a new computerized UK customs system designed pre-referendum and coincidentally scheduled to go live in March 2019 although it was, of course, originally sized to deal with third party trade only. Presumably it will use online forms submission and automated clearance document generation with barcode/transducer technology to facilitate the occasional spot check of goods vs. documentation and enable virtually automated clearance for all goods.

I have some (painful) experience of being the end-user acceptance testing manager for very large global enterprise wide MRP systems for multiple markets/languages/currencies and suffice to say that this is one project I would be happy not to be involved with. (Last time around the Director of IT told me he valued my project management skills so highly that it didn't matter that I had no prior experience of the business processes being automated, the technology being used, the IT teams doing the design/implementation, or the management which had signed off on the design.)

Needless to say everything went swimmingly, except that production chaos ensued once the system went live because the business managers had signed off on system designs which bore little relationship to the reality of how the underlying production/distribution processes actually operated. The failure was most acute in the UK.  Apparently senior UK business managers don't do detail. Promotion is based on selling conceptual, strategic, transformational systems which run best on Powerpoint..

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 16th, 2017 at 06:48:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently senior UK business managers don't do detail. Promotion is based on selling conceptual, strategic, transformational systems which run best on Powerpoint..

I can testify for that, and have been hurt many times. Bring up obviously relevant details / implementation pre-requisites and you will be seen as junior staff, whereas you see people being promoted extremely high on the basis of a "transformational vision" from which you don't see any actual change having been implemented.

I have even had colleagues tell me that the most relevant academic qualifications had to be humanities and certainly not science as "there typically is more than one solution, so what matters is not selecting your solution, it is presenting it eloquently."

Er... that the ensemble of valid solutions may not be a singleton does not imply that anything will be a valid solution...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Aug 17th, 2017 at 08:24:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're problem is that you are selecting the wrong problem to resolve: i.e. the presenting business problem you have officially been told to resolve. The problem you actually have to resolve is how to make you and your boss look good within the 6 month planning horizon and institutional memory most UK businesses now operate with. Your plan must always be to have moved on by the time the shit hits the fan beyond that time horizon.

And when you do move on, your SOP must always be to express absolute shock at the horrific shambles your predecessor has left behind and produce a Powerpoint presentation of how you are going to transform the business within, you guessed it, 6 months! In fact, if you don't already have a more or less standardised "transformational" powerpoint presentation in your armoury, you are missing a trick!

Why not practice here and produce a slide show of how you would transform ET or whatever organisation you care to nominate in 6 easy steps after just 6 months. - just so long as you don't disappear afterwards... :-;


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 17th, 2017 at 09:38:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank was cheekily suggesting that those new trade deals would replace the EU imports.

I was not saying that the logistical aspect was the most important - only pointing out that preparation for it was very visibly not happening. And reducing your checks by 80% while doing business with countries that are often much less reliable than the EU ones is an interesting approach.
Not for particularly positive values of "interesting".

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Aug 17th, 2017 at 08:09:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Agree that this is yet another piece of evidence that the British are not making even preliminary preparations for Brexit.

That said, nobody relies on customs inspections to enforce important rules like health and safety or product quality standards. Customs stops are for catching contraband and misdeclared cargo, not for inspecting the goods being imported. Failure to adequately staff customs inspections for a few years will result in a little more heroin entering circulation and a little less customs revenue being collected. But it cannot meaningfully change safety or quality standards, because customs stops are currently not monitoring those.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 17th, 2017 at 08:58:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the much under-reported aspects of the customs Union is that it enshrines the principle of regulation enforcement equivalence. In other words the product quality assurance authorities in one country trust and accept the findings of the authorities in another country, and that the same standards are applied in both cases.

Once the UK leaves the Customs Union, that may no longer apply - unless there is agreement otherwise as part of the Brexit or post Brexit trade deal. What that means in practice is that (say) UK food exports to the EU27 will be held up in customs until they can be tested to ensure they comply with EU standards. (That could take some time to establish whether it contains GMO produce, for example).

The delay may be more costly than any tariffs, especially for fresh produce and constitute a much more effective barrier to trade than any tariffs themselves.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 17th, 2017 at 10:13:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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