Brexit – The Devil and the Details

I’ve heard a lot about how hard Brexit will be, and the governments rush into it is worrying. Here’s an article from the i’s Jim Armitage which provides an example of the complexities ahead, and should terrify anyone in these islands.

The complexity of untangling 44 years of seamless trade and regulation with Europe is so labyrinthine and technically difficult that chaos is surely the most likely outcome in 2019 unless we get a very long transition period. Remainers have been saying all this since the referendum campaign began,but unless you are actually running an international company,it’s hard to grips quite what that means.

That’s why Brexit hardliners have managed to hoodwink so many voters into flippantly demanding a sharp, fast exit from the European Union…

But at Wednesday night’s annual Confederation of British industry dinner, its chairman, Paul Drechsler, put it as well as I have herd it explained, using the example of a computer chip made in Cardiff’s growing tech hub. The chip, he said, is bought by a company in Germany. The metals inside it are sourced from south Africa and Turkey, using free trade agreements that the UK has though its EU membership.

Some of the plastics inside it are processed in Poland and Spain. Engineers from France, Croatia and Hungary worked alongside Brits in Cardiff to design it. When finished, it is packaged by a worker from Bangor, Wales and delivered to the port by a driver from Slovakia.

The chip had been made to European standards, it design protected by a Europe-wide trademark. It was insured with a financial package covered by EU passporting and, when incorporated into a machine and put in the shop, it will meet Europe-wide levels of consumer protection.

In other words, for that chip, and the British company that makes it, to remain as competitive as today, we need: 3 new trade deals,free movement of EU citizens, 3 new sets of internationally approved regulatory and copyright standards, and an agreement on EU financial services passporting.

So tell me. Now are you worried?    

I would like to add to this with the fact that all the above agreements were negotiated by skilled, knowlegeable negotiators with Britain’s interest to the forefront. Many of these posts have been scrapped, so there is simply no manpower to negotiate withdrawal from agreements, never mind replace them with satisfactory deals. If any new agreements are signed, it will add to the already overwhelming paperwork businesses have to deal with, making enforcement difficult or impossible. We are facing decline in standards and rise in law breaking, as prosecutions will become so much more difficult and expensive. Ordinary people will take more of a battering.

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