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The ERG Brexit proposal sounds like some sort of imitation Woody Allen joke.


David Henig, Director of the UK Trade Policy Project, uses the English language against English nationalists and their deluded Brexit plan.


“Outstanding” could mean exceptionally good, or alternatively not yet paid, resolved, or dealt with. I think you can probably guess which category this new ERG report fits best into...

We already get a sense of this in the foreword — the EU is terrible, bureaucratic and our manufacturing is moving there. Which rather sounds like some sort of imitation Woody Allen joke.

Also, from the foreword — living under WTO rules is life-enhancing — which could perhaps be the basis for a new religion?

Anyway, the first myth, that Customs declarations are pieces of papers, yields a flurry of stats which you can interpret as you will, but let us say that this still means there are lots of customs checks even if it is a small percentage.

Not going to go through them all, but Myth 3 shows how you can do sleight of hand on these things — all will be fine as long as Dover can operate in the same way as freight airports, which right now it cannot...

Myth 6, love the Swiss example which openly says that it is not just customs checks, but actually other checks, only they don’t apply in this case as single market rules apply...

This is in Myth 7 — 90% of EU free trade agreements have almost no service component. Which? In a section on FTAs versus Customs Unions that throws a number of stats around without much understanding.

Myth 8 appears to prove that checks at Norway, Sweden or Swiss borders is lighter because they are aligned with the single market, so someone got a bit confused here.

There is a lot more on the cost of Rules of Origin which is all rather dull, suffice to say we can debate the cost, but there clearly is a cost. And previous delays at Dover did not interrupt just-in-time deliveries, which might be an interesting point if true.

As expected, the report does not actually tell us very much. Customs procedures can be streamlined and optimised. But nothing in the report suggest they can be removed entirely. So how does this take us any further forward?🔷



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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article, with the author’s conscent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)


(Cover: Pixabay.)


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Director of the UK Trade Policy Project. UK Director of the European Centre For International Political Economy.
London, UK.

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