Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What Boris Johnson doesn't get (or want to get)

Why would any logical human want to buy goods and services of a country or visit a country that wants his/her money but not him/her there to live/work?

The EU is spreading this principle via the membership of the EU's Single Market. It has made EEA members such as Norway and non EEA Switzerland accept that.

That is what Boris eg does not get (or pretends he does not) and V. Schauble offered to explain to him by explaining the EU Treaty recently.

The emerging rule of the game in the world is: If you want absolutely free trade of goods and services and movement of capital then accept freedom of movement of people too and the EU is promoting it. 

Well done EU. That is a cause others should promote too. It is a human value cause, that humans are no less in freedom of movement rights than capital or goods and maybe one day this may be part of the WTO.

Monday, September 26, 2016

EU Single Market: A French operation in Italy

How well is the EU Single Market for services working sur le terrain?

August 2012.  Trying to find the TGV ticket office at the Garibaldi train station in Milano.

Main ticket guiches would not sell you those tckets.

Finally, I found it hidden near one of the platforms.

The reason, apparently, is that is a French operation in an Italian city. 

The UK's competitive advantage

What good in a UK which is not part of the EU market for not only goods but services and capital as well and where you cannot recruit the best European and world talent? 

That is why a reported very large % of CEOs in the UK are considering moving their companies post referendum.

And that is an issue Theresa May and her team must address ASAP. 

Mrs May has recently claimed that she wants to make the UK a leader/champion for global trade. That is nice and useful, but if the UK was to launch a campaign within the WTO to further liberalise world trade, it will take years and years to achieve that.

If she means creation of regional agreements, eg with the Commonwealth, that is nice but they too will take years and what is the trade gain in value? The EU market (sans the UK) is still the most lucrative one in the world, ahead of the US. 

If she means bilateral trade deals, well many are doing such already and they, too, take years. And she does not have the trade negotiators for it.

Plus, trade usually covers just goods, what about the City's and UK services export needs?

Theresa May needs to come up with answers and do it fast.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Brexit for the City and UK services

Liam Fox pointed out this week:

- "First, if we take the top 10 markets where the UK has a trade surplus only one of them, Ireland, is in the EU.

- "And if we look at the 10 markets with which the UK has a trade deficit, seven out of the 10 are in the EU. It is, therefore, very much in the interests of other EU states that Britain and they makes a success of Brexit and our new relationship."

That implies that the EU will want to strike a good trade deal with the UK.

That's fair enough. The EU has a good trade of goods deal with Serbia. Also Canada.

But will a trade deal cover the needs of the City and services exporters? That is the 1 trillion pound question!

Meanwhile, two European finance ministers offered to give Boris Johnson free tutoring on the EU Lisbon Treaty after he claimed that freedom of movement is not an integral part of the EU Single Market.

It is clear that the UK cannot achieve the access Norwegians services have in the EU market without offering free movement as part of the deal.

Without free movement it can get some sort of deal bu nothing that emulates that type of access for the City and for other UK services.

Services is what turns a goods trade deficit into a surplus for goods+services.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Theresa May's Borders

Theresa May's UN speech, two days before the World Peace Day, preaching to UN members from all over the world that it is their "duty" to control migration flows was not very helpful for Britain's world image. Plus won;t bring any results. Few if any countries have the intent, let alone the resources, to do what she asks for.

People fleeing war or political persecution or wanting to improve their lives will continue to cross borders and go to extreme lengths to reach Britain and other "attractive" countries.

They will continue to arrive by boats to Greece and Italy aiming to reach mainly Britain or Germany.

Why is Britain such an attractive destination. I have not seen a thorough analysis of that. Brexiters will say: The NHS. Yet Germany and other countries have better systems. Maybe it is the language and BBC World!

In any case, May is promoting to the world an image that is not only not one of an Open Britain. And while many will rush to specify that a) migration of people and b) trade of goods and services and movement of capital and investment are not the same thing, many others will claim that they go hand in hand, at least in terms of image to the world.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Does triggering Art 50 mean Brexit?

The Liberal Democrats, with +20,000 members since the ref and the highest number of members since 1993 (but still at 8-9% in the opinion polls) have pledged that they will offer the British people a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

One detail though: Once Article 50 has been invoked, it cannot be revoked. Thus the new ref can be on the type of Brexit deal not on Brexit per se.

Now, friends have argued that  various legal opinions are around on that issue and that the author of the actual Article 50, as well as members of the ECJ have said that there is nothing in any of the treaties that says a member state can't withdraw its intention to leave the EU after invoking Art.50 and before the 2 year time period is up.

while I fully understand the predicament the EU cannot spend years negotiating a deal and then have the whole thing scrapped. Plus, by the next UK elections (2020), it will be all over, the triggering and the two years. The issue is to avert the triggering and that can happen if the current government gets a no confidence vote.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Britain's EU friends

Herman Van Rompay bluntly claimed that the UK did not have that many friends in the EU even before the referendum.

That may be partly true.

First, let's point out that HVR claimed the EU would never become US of Europe a few years ago.

It is true that many in the EU were tired of British antics re the EU way before the ref. It was not just Farage and the UKIP in the EP. It was Tories' (let us not forget that the Tories left the pro EU European People's Party years ago) antics too.

It was Thatcher, it was Major (and his veto on the Maastricht Treaty at first and then on the Euro and the Social Protocol) and Cameron too.

Blair's UK was rather pro EU.

The UK has been nagging for ages about:

The structural funds
The UK contribution to the EU budget
The agricultural policy of the EU

It was the UK that was one of the champions of EU enlargement from 15 to 28 as a strategy for preventing deepening of the EU.

But as Germans have pointed out, Germany and the UK see things eye to eye regarding markets philosophy.

Plus the UK is the most international member of the EU in terms of migration, both intraEU and from outside the EU.

NVR was exaggerating. But the UK has become a problem for the EU and the EU will deal with it.

Brexit means exit? Update

T. May's experience is the G20 must have been trying.
She then cam back to Brttain to insist that an exit from the EU Single Market is not the objective of the future negotiations.

Contacts have been made but it has been pointed out that trade negotiations with eg Australia will take years and EU-Australia negotiations have priority.

For some reason Mrs May publicly insists that a deal for access to the EU Single Market (capital, goods, services) can be reached without free movement in it. That is against all evidence so far.

The UK needs this access because:

a) Many of its exports are ecological premium products that are adverse to customs and other red tape.

b) Export of services is not part of WTO trade deals

c) The City needs freedom of capital with tthe EU.

Why is then Britain leaving the EU, one might ask.

It shall be long and it shall be hard

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Where were you in 2000?

In 2000 people who thought Gore was not good enough to be president voted for Nader and get of all us Dubya. Hope this time it's the other way round, people vote for Johnson instead of Tramp.

Hillary was 45 when Bill became president, 53 when he left office and 69 now (born 1947). It's been 15 years since Bill left office, oh my how quickly time passes.

CNN is getting heat about the accuracy of its poll showing Trump leading. That's OK, people have to grasp what a Trump win would mean in order to vote for Hillary.

If Remain had

Now that the ref is done and over with, it is worth doing an evaluation of the Pro EU - Remain campaign.

I remember debating hordes of Eurosceptics - Kippers about the EU all the way back in 2005 in the European Commission's Online Forums.

Where were pro EU Britons then?

It is evident the ref was going to take place as many as four years ago. Who started campaigning then, especially online?

Much like the Swedish Euro ref, the pro EU - Euro side started way too late to win.

In the UK, the pro EU camp relied on the offices of the European Commission and the European Parliament to do "PR" for the pro EU side.

The other reason, was complexity of the messages. The Leave side spoke to the hearts, the Remain side to the brains.

Scotland in the EU: How?

What the ALDE leader actually said is that it would be (relatively) easy for Scotland to apply and join the EU. He did not say it would e automatic.

Imho, the only way Scotland could automatically remain in the EU is if the UK officially divided into two or more parts before Article 50 is triggered, something which is not going to happen or May allow it, Scotland would have to gain independence from the UK which is not the same thing, it would not inherit any of the UK's rights.

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