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The obvious solution to the Northern Ireland question is making it a special economic area. But I guess emotional issues are more important.

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by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 19th, 2020 at 10:15:59 AM EST
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In practice, this may be how it all turns out, with N. Ireland businesses having relatively unencumbered access to both the Single and United Kingdom Markets. It is about the only thing that could make the place economically viable again.

Given that most North South and east west trade is dominated by a few large retailers and other businesses, "trusted trader" schemes whereby these businesses report their import/exports in the same way as their VAT returns, could work for perhaps 80% of all trade.

The relatively small amounts transported by private individuals/sole traders and small business in cars/vans would be immaterial in an EU context and be made legal by exempting "shipments" under (say) €1,000 for personal use. On-line retailers wouldn't be exempt because they are generally large companies.

Large trucks would be subject to random spot checks near the border, and at ports exiting the island for the rest of the EU. It simply isn't feasible to block 300 road crossings along the 500KM border, and these blockades were regularly blown up during the troubles as they divided farms, towns, and rural communities with intimate ties.

I hear Amazon and other multiples are busy setting up distribution centres in Ireland having previously serviced the Irish market from UK warehouses. Aldi and Lidl and Decathlon are expanding rapidly. Tesco et al used to regard Ireland as "Treasure Island" as they could sustain much higher margins here for lack of competition. This is changing and they will lose market share v. rapidly if they don't adapt from exclusive reliance on British distribution centres.

This is the reality of Brexit, although Brexiteers and many political commentators have been remarkably slow at grasping the significance of the economic changes that will ensue. Who knew that customs controls could be so much hassles? It strikes at the heart of the globalising business and consumer trends of the past 50 years that everyone took for granted.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 20th, 2020 at 10:53:58 AM EST
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On the Norway-Sweden border you can bring goods for personal use, but not for selling. Exactly how much that is, there are court cases about. In practise the police doesn't bother to check cars that isn't obviously carrying a lot of weight. Trucks are checked, though.

There is smuggling: meat and alcohol to Norway, rice and sugar to Sweden. But it is at the margins and there is a risk at getting caught.

by fjallstrom on Tue Sep 22nd, 2020 at 11:42:24 AM EST
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