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Old January 15th, 2020, 12:56 AM   #13221
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Originally Posted by Nibb31 View Post
No because the UK will apply tariffs to imported peaches.
No we won't. We don't grow peaches, we don't need to protect our peach growers. That's the whole point.
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Originally Posted by Nibb31 View Post
Sure, the UK could very well choose to waive tariffs on imported peaches, but the Italian peaches are then likely to still be more competitive because of the transport costs, subsidies, quality, and carbon footprint. They are also more likely to meet British health and safety standards.
No, they will be uncompetitive. That's why the EU puts up trade barriers. Transport costs are negligible and health and safety issues are a boogieman, used to justify trade barriers.

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Originally Posted by Nibb31 View Post
Tariffs, quotas, and standards are all used as leverage in trade negotiations. Ultimately, trade deals are about selling, not buying. As a trade negotiator, you want to achieve a positive trade balance, so your goal is to get the other side to lower its barriers while keeping your own barriers as high as possible to protect your economy. The trade deal is achieved when a balance is met between those constraints.
No, this is wrong. A mercantalist fallacy. Trade deals that lower costs for consumers and inputs for producers, make everything cheaper, giving us all more money to spend, which stimulates economic growth.

Trade deals are just as much about buying as they are about selling. After all, the point of an economy is to help us consume.

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Originally Posted by Nibb31 View Post
There are no trade tariffs with Italy. It's the trade with Italy that makes Italy richer, just like it makes Britain richer to be able to trade with Italy. And trading with Italy benefits the UK much more than trading with Kenya or Zimbabwe would.
This is economically illiterate.

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Originally Posted by Nibb31 View Post
EU protectionism is what has kept British agriculture and manufacturing alive.
No. It has kept uncompetitive producers in business, preventing capital substitution to more productive companies and sectors - and providing disincentives to investment, while suppressing consumer demand. In the end, EU protectionism is a brake on growth.

There are reasonable non-economic arguments for protectionism - most notably 'preserving way of life' and preventing social upheaval. That is the same argument Brexiteers make for Brexit - and they are derided for it.
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Old January 15th, 2020, 10:13 AM   #13222
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Much like your discussion about oranges, your point about peaches is also wrong.

Why ? Let's have a look at what actually happens.

The EU is a big producer of peaches:

Quote:
The majority of Europe’s stone fruit is imported from other EU Member States (see Figure 5 for the main European suppliers). In 2014 and 2015, the EU had to absorb more stone fruit from local production due to the Russian trade embargo. This resulted in an almost 30% decrease in imports from developing countries compared to 2013. In 2016, this import volume recovered completely.
Almost half of the 188,000 tonnes of stone fruit from developing countries is imported by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The Netherlands re-exports most of these to other European markets, while the United Kingdom is mostly an end market.
When including intra-European trade figures, Germany is the largest importing country of stone fruit in Europe with 474,000 tonnes in 2016. After Germany, the largest importers are France (216,000 tonnes), the UK (180,000 tonnes), Italy (146,000 tonnes) and Poland (110,000 tonnes).
Because Europe produces stone fruit in large volumes, imports from developing countries are mainly counter-seasonal from January to March and mostly to northern European countries. The largest suppliers from outside Europe are Turkey, South Africa and Chile.

European production

Spain and Italy are the main EU producers of stone fruit. Together, they produced around 4 million tonnes out of the total 7.7 million tonnes of stone fruit produced in the EU.
A vast majority of apricots, peaches and nectarines produced in Europe originate from the Mediterranean countries Italy, France, Spain and Greece. In 2013, these countries produced almost 0.7 million tonnes of apricots and 4.1 million tonnes of peaches and nectarines.
Spain is a fast-growing competitor for peaches in the EU thanks to increasing popularity of varieties such as Paraguayos (wild peaches) and Platerinas (flat peaches).

https://www.cbi.eu/market-informatio...s/stone-fruit/
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four-fifths of cherries, apricots, plums and peaches originated from Turkey (35.6 %), South Africa (27.6 %) and Chile (16.3 %).
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statis...overview#Trade
So most peaches consumed in the EU are grown here and of imported stoned fruit (including peaches) around 80% come from Turkey, South Africa and Chile.

So what are the tariffs imposed on those imports ? Well obviously the EU produce is all tariff free. How about the other countries ? It turns out the EU imposes a tariff of 17.6% on peach imports. That will usually be imposed on the import price of the product so before costs of UK distribution, packaging, retailer profit, etc. Because of this the impact of tariffs on retail prices is generally a lot less than you might imagine. But it's still a tariff.

Turkey has a highly developed relationship with the EU (a customs union for some goods) so it's no surprise that imports from there are tariff free, as can be seen from the EU tariff database:



How about South Africa ? Well the SADC has entered into an economic partnership agreement with the EU so it can export peaches tariff free to the EU as well:



Chile ? Well surprise surprise. Chile has a free trade agreement with the EU and can also export its peaches to Europe tariff free.



So it's almost guaranteed that if you currently buy peaches in the UK, at any time of year, you will not be paying tariffs.

You can argue that the EU's costs of production are such that it might be possible to import peaches during the growing season from elsewhere, but the largest producer is China (the next two are Spain and Italy) and it's doubtful their produce currently meets environmental and safety standards. Middle class Chinese increasingly shun their country's own fruit because of safety fears:

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/soci...t-among-chinas

Besides, are EU peaches uncompetitive on the world markets ? In fact the EU is a net exporter of peaches:

Quote:
The EU is a net exporter of peaches and nectarines with exports largely exceeding imports. With lower domestic supplies in MY 2018/19, the volume of EU’s exports of peaches and nectarines lowered 38 percent to 155,395 MT and valued at $141 million. The main destination for EU peaches and nectarines were Belarus, Switzerland, and the Ukraine.
http://agriexchange.apeda.gov.in/mar...8_9-3-2019.pdf
So let me make a prediction. After Brexit the costs of peaches (like oranges) in UK stores will not decrease. The produce sold may come from different countries, but there will be no noticeable difference in the price.
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Old January 15th, 2020, 10:36 AM   #13223
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So to cut a long story short: What you have shown is that the peaches we buy are those produced within the tariff-free zone or in countries where we have various free trade arrangements.

Of course they are! That's the whole point! In other words, tariffs (and non-tariff barriers) have dictated and distorted trade.

Yes, as you note, the tariffs are applied to the unprocessed product. It is very difficult to import processed products (eg: canned peaches, roasted coffee) due to non-tariff barriers. This has the effect of stopping poor producer nations developing their own food processing industries, which would help them grow richer and lower costs further for EU consumers. Everyone is a loser, except for uncompetitive producers in Europe.

If EU producers were competitive then the trade barriers would not be necessary.

Thank you for proving my point.

---

It's not that I'm super excited about knocking a few pence off a tin of peaches. It's that these relatively small distortions all add up. The aggregate effect is to dampen growth, worsen living standards and privilege the incumbent over the challenger (that's why it's called protectionism).

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Old January 15th, 2020, 11:01 AM   #13224
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Brexit means protectionism and nationalism. It is not a project for free market and free trade with the world. That idea died in 2016.
Here is a well done article to show my point: https://www.cityam.com/liberal-brexit-is-dead/
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Old January 15th, 2020, 11:04 AM   #13225
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It is very difficult to import processed products (eg: canned peaches, roasted coffee) due to non-tariff barriers.
WTF are you talking about ?

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Europe is the largest market for canned fruit and vegetables in the world, representing more than 42% of the total world imports. Import volumes are stable for European types of canned fruit and vegetables, but the import of tropical and exotic products is increasing. Large importing and consuming markets such as Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands offer the most opportunities for exporters from developing countries.

http://cannedfoodhx.com/news/exporti...urope/487.html
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Old January 15th, 2020, 11:51 AM   #13226
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Brexit means protectionism and nationalism. It is not a project for free market and free trade with the world. That idea died in 2016.
Here is a well done article to show my point: https://www.cityam.com/liberal-brexit-is-dead/
Well then, if this person is right, you, Smarty, et al should be delighted. We carry on with the status quo.

However, what is quite clear is that the UK trade strategy is based on alignment where it suits us and divergence where that suits us:

Alignment, eg: Automotive, Chemicals
Divergence, eg: Finance, Tech

Sector by sector, you do a cost-benefit analysis, promising to stick to EU rules where the net benefit of pursuing a "global Britain" strategy is negative, and diverging where it isn't.

Most importantly, you use not being bound by EU law to liberalise the economy, making it easier to start companies, access finance and grow. This has little to do directly with trade policy, but, if we get it right, it will be hugely beneficial.

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Old January 15th, 2020, 12:04 PM   #13227
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Brexit means protectionism and nationalism. It is not a project for free market and free trade with the world. That idea died in 2016.
Here is a well done article to show my point: https://www.cityam.com/liberal-brexit-is-dead/
I think one of the main issues is that Brexiters see regulations as stifling trade. But in fact they do the opposite - they enable trade through building trust.

If you are importing a can of peaches for example, you want to know how they were grown, what pesticides were used, the canning process. You want to ensure that they're correctly labelled, they didn't cross contaminate with serious allergens (or if they did they're marked as such "processed in a factory that processes peanuts"). You probably also want to ensure no child labour was involved in making them, that the state is not unfairly subsidising their production and so on. There are hundreds of things you would want to be sure of.

If you stop the can of peaches at the border and refuse it entry because it's not labelled correctly, or send it off for 3 weeks of health tests to ensure it's safe to eat - those controls are non tariff barriers hindering trade. But the answer is to align production standards and have them properly enforced so you can import the peaches without hindrance and without worrying over whether they're going to kill someone.

Modern FTAs are often about this alignment of standards. It builds trust and allows you to be sure of what you're allowing into the country.

There was a good article about "bendy cucumbers" from before the referendum. Johnson wrote his infamous article about rules about bendy bananas years ago, and it became a thing to blame the EU for all sorts of nonsense regulations. The truth was the rules actually came from an international organisation (not the EU) and were designed to facilitate trade. From the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (reproduced in full):

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As the UK referendum on Brexit approaches I feel obliged to stand forward and confess. The European Union is often criticized for dealing with ridiculous things such as the shape of cucumbers: banning the curved ones and imposing straight ones on farmers and consumers alike.

Well, this story is wrong for three reasons. First and foremost, it is not the European Union that has developed the current standard for cucumbers. It is the UN. Or to be more specific my organization, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). In fact, the European Union does not have a specific cucumber standard but traders can refer to the UNECE standard to meet the EU's general marketing requirements. Therefore, don't blame the EU, blame us.

The second reason is that the standard does not force all cucumbers to be equally straight. It is correct that an Extra Class or Class I cucumber can only bend 1 centimeter for each 10 centimeters. But a Class II cucumber can actually bend 2 centimeters for each 10 centimeters. There are straight cucumbers and not so straight cucumbers.

But the third and most important reason for why the story is wrong, is because these agricultural standards, covering some than 100 fruits and vegetables, are very useful and widely used. The standards not only facilitate trade, they also help producers get a better price for better quality. Traders in the UK can buy cucumbers from Spain or Morocco, or any other country by simply referring to the standard. They will then be able to compare prices, knowing exactly what they will get. There is no need to travel all the way to where the cucumbers are grown to inspect them. The quality is defined by the standard. So, if you order Class I cucumbers, you will get Class I cucumbers. This is trade facilitation at its best. And the producers of Class I cucumbers, wherever they might be, will get the premium for a Class I cucumber.

But, you could argue, why do they have to be straight? What about all the curved cucumbers that are then wasted? Should we not fight food waste? Yes, we should. But, this is also part of the logic behind the cucumber standard. Very curved cucumbers are difficult to store in boxes and, when transported, they bump into each other and end up with bruises, especially when travelling longer distances. This means that they will get soft spots and start rotting before even arriving at the supermarket and will have to be thrown away. Moreover, many cucumbers are processed by machines, and, if they are very curved, they will get stuck in the machine and have to be thrown away. Finally, experience shows that consumers tend to choose straight cucumbers, so even if the curved ones make it to the shop, some of them will probably be wasted anyway.

It is therefore better to sell and eat curved cucumbers locally in the producing countries. Curved cucumbers are just as delicious as straight ones but not every cucumber is meant to travel and end up in a supermarket. Curved ones can be sold directly by local farms or on local markets or, if no longer edible, they can be collected and used as animal feed or turned into compost.

The cucumber standard is a good standard. And the world needs significantly more cooperation on standards of all kinds, be it in the UN or in the EU. And even if you do not agree, then remember if you hear the cucumber critique: do not blame the EU. Credit the UN.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/chr..._10569052.html
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Old January 15th, 2020, 12:26 PM   #13228
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I think one of the main issues is that Brexiters see regulations as stifling trade. But in fact they do the opposite - they enable trade through building trust.

If you are importing a can of peaches for example, you want to know how they were grown, what pesticides were used, the canning process. You want to ensure that they're correctly labelled, they didn't cross contaminate with serious allergens (or if they did they're marked as such "processed in a factory that processes peanuts"). You probably also want to ensure no child labour was involved in making them, that the state is not unfairly subsidising their production and so on. There are hundreds of things you would want to be sure of.

If you stop the can of peaches at the border and refuse it entry because it's not labelled correctly, or send it off for 3 weeks of health tests to ensure it's safe to eat - those controls are non tariff barriers hindering trade. But the answer is to align production standards and have them properly enforced so you can import the peaches without hindrance and without worrying over whether they're going to kill someone.

Modern FTAs are often about this alignment of standards. It builds trust and allows you to be sure of what you're allowing into the country.

There was a good article about "bendy cucumbers" from before the referendum. Johnson wrote his infamous article about rules about bendy bananas years ago, and it became a thing to blame the EU for all sorts of nonsense regulations. The truth was the rules actually came from an international organisation (not the EU) and were designed to facilitate trade. From the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (reproduced in full):
I know you are a lawyer and lawyers love regulation. But lots of studies have shown that regulation is a substitute for trust - they do not build trust at all.

"We document that, in a cross section of countries, government regulation is strongly negatively correlated with measures of trust. In a simple model explaining this correlation, distrust creates public demand for regulation, whereas regulation in turn discourages formation of trust, leading to multiple equilibria."

https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/sh..._trust_qje.pdf

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Old January 15th, 2020, 12:28 PM   #13229
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Lonely, isolated, insular, backward Brexit Britain, part 94:

In what was another record-breaking year, investments in the UK tech sector soared to £10.1bn ($13.2 billion) in 2019 – a £3.1bn increase on 2018’s very strong figures and the highest level in UK history.

Our research prepared with Dealroom for the Digital Economy Council shows that between January and December, UK companies secured a third of the £30.4bn raised in Europe during 2019, with UK-based tech firms receiving more VC investment than Germany (£5.4bn) and France (£3.4bn) combined.

The number of rapidly growing UK tech companies soared as venture capital investment increased by 44% in 2019. Growth in VC investment exceeded 40% for the third year in a row. To put this growth into perspective, investments in France grew by a little over a third compared to 2018, while Israel’s investments rose by a fifth.

https://technation.io/news/2019-a-re...r-for-uk-tech/
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Old January 15th, 2020, 01:20 PM   #13230
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But lots of studies have shown that regulation is a substitute for trust - they do not build trust at all.
Even if that's right and it doesn't build trust, the regulations give me something by which to measure that product and to hold that producer to account. I know when I buy something exactly what I should be receiving.

When you fly, do you trust that the plane will arrive in one piece ? If so, why ? You trust it because you know that there are innumerable regulations in place to ensure that it'll almost certainly be safe. Is it the airline specifically you trust or the regulations that the airline has to follow ? Ultimately what matters is that you get from A to B safely.

Much of this is driven by public demand. When that girl died recently on a flight after eating a pret a manger sandwich I didn't see many people clamouring for less regulation and fewer standards - precisely the opposite. It's the same whenever a washing machine catches fire, or an appliance blows up, or someone burns themselves because something fails or whatever. It's always "what went wrong" and "how can we prevent that happening again".

Ultimately what's important is having good regulation. That means finding the right balance between underpinning markets, protecting people's rights and safety and ensuring the delivery of public goods and services, whilst minimising any additional costs.
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Old January 15th, 2020, 03:08 PM   #13231
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Well then, if this person is right, you, Smarty, et al should be delighted. We carry on with the status quo.

However, what is quite clear is that the UK trade strategy is based on alignment where it suits us and divergence where that suits us:

Alignment, eg: Automotive, Chemicals
Divergence, eg: Finance, Tech

Sector by sector, you do a cost-benefit analysis, promising to stick to EU rules where the net benefit of pursuing a "global Britain" strategy is negative, and diverging where it isn't.

Most importantly, you use not being bound by EU law to liberalise the economy, making it easier to start companies, access finance and grow. This has little to do directly with trade policy, but, if we get it right, it will be hugely beneficial.
I do not disagree with you here, but the question is: how do you do that in 11 months, with a self-harming policy of no extension to the transition period? And with a political class whose priority seems to be spending half a million pounds to make the Big Ben bong?

Brexit per se could have worked, if dealt with rationality. That's not what is happening (thanks, mostly, to the reckless approach initially followed by Theresa May).
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Old January 15th, 2020, 03:28 PM   #13232
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Yes, that's right. I was being condescending, because together with hysterical hand-wringing, that is the only language Remoaners understand.
If you calling someone like me "Remoaner" can I call you "Brextarder"? Or shall we drop that nonsense from the exchanges on this forum?

Going back to merit, I don't think being condescending towards people facing real difficulties (however trivial to you) is the best idea.... But of course it's your right and others will judge if they agree with such approach or not.
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Old January 15th, 2020, 03:43 PM   #13233
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Much of this is driven by public demand. When that girl died recently on a flight after eating a pret a manger sandwich I didn't see many people clamouring for less regulation and fewer standards - precisely the opposite.
I wouldn't be so sure. I followed that story and whilst I agreed with the outcomes—Pret now have to display all the ingredients on their individual fresh sandwiches, and I've noticed in each store there is now a digital touchscreen giving customers very detailed information about their processes and potential allergens—there were many at the time dismissing this story as 'health and safety gone mad' and that she shouldn't have eaten the sandwich in the first place knowing she had allergies (even though she ate the wrong sandwich) and questioning why on earth so many people have these allergies nowadays when 'back in their day you ate what you were given, and no one died'.

There is a similar undertone to the rolling back of regulation proposed in post-Brexit Britain. The emphasis moving from the producer of a product to minimise risk to the consumer, to the consumer itself having to be more risk-aware. Even Boris Johnson, who as Mayor brought back the open-door policy on his Routemaster design, openly waxed lyrical about Londoners needing to 'toughen up' and that running for a bus and tripping up the step potentially missing it was 'part and parcel of a Londoners initiation' to the capital.
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Old January 15th, 2020, 05:13 PM   #13234
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Yeah I'm sure there are plenty of people that disagree with the notion of providing such information or blame her in some way or whatever. But ultimately the company acted and introduced changes (for whatever reason - to avoid bad publicity, show they're doing something or to avoid the risk of future litigation or whatever) and the government is now changing the law - new food labelling laws are coming in next year IIRC. That's down to public pressure - the government wouldn't act otherwise.

I remember the debate about the open door on the Routemaster
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Old January 15th, 2020, 07:52 PM   #13235
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I remember the debate about the open door on the Routemaster
Ah, the "Boris bus". And now we won't be even able to board them using the back doors, due to the loss of revenue. Someone didn't really think it through... But then, are we surprised?
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Old January 15th, 2020, 10:43 PM   #13236
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I do not disagree with you here, but the question is: how do you do that in 11 months, with a self-harming policy of no extension to the transition period? And with a political class whose priority seems to be spending half a million pounds to make the Big Ben bong?

Brexit per se could have worked, if dealt with rationality. That's not what is happening (thanks, mostly, to the reckless approach initially followed by Theresa May).
The Tories' calculation (and they may be wrong) is clearly that the "no extension" policy strengthens their negotiation, because they believe that without a hard deadline, the EU will just drag out negotiations for years. They calculate that the EU wants a deal and therefore holding a gun to our own head will focus their minds and energies.

It is a gamble, but then again, we know how damaging protracted uncertainty is, so it is a gamble worth taking, I think.

Fundamentally, the EU wants a deal. Their economy is in a parlous state, we are a lucrative market for them - their biggest. Other export markets are getting more challenging. They have alienated the US. China is not buying so many of their cars and machine tools. Their precarious finance sector needs access to London - and so do the SMEs that rely on competitive financing. Therefore, making it clear that procrastination is not an option makes sense.

I suspect that we will not end up with a single, comprehensive, deal by the end of the year. But a mini deal, covering the most important stuff, that allows our integrated supply chains to keep working, planes to keep flying and markets to be confident, but does not answer some of the less pressing questions.

The bongs stuff is a silly side show, yes.
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Old January 15th, 2020, 10:51 PM   #13237
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If you calling someone like me "Remoaner" can I call you "Brextarder"? Or shall we drop that nonsense from the exchanges on this forum?

Going back to merit, I don't think being condescending towards people facing real difficulties (however trivial to you) is the best idea.... But of course it's your right and others will judge if they agree with such approach or not.
I was only being condescending to you. You are not facing real difficulties, other than a lack of perspective

You can call me what you like, you often do. But I would suggest to you that there is an order of magnitude's difference between calling someone a moaner (you most certainly do moan incessantly on this topic) and calling someone a retard. If you think that those two things are comparable, I refer you to my previous paragraph.

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Old January 16th, 2020, 12:49 AM   #13238
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I was only being condescending to you.
Well, your condescending comment about "a few forms" was in reply to Smarty, as far as I remember, I only pointed it out.

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You are not facing real difficulties, other than a lack of perspective
With all the respect but you don't really know my detailed personal circumstances. There was already debate ongoing on this thread about helping elderly parents, bringing parents to help with childcare etc. It will all become more difficult for the EU citizens, probably with aforementioned forms to be filled.
I know for you it might be academic and irrelevant but I do know people where it might be a problem. So stop being patronizing.

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T
I suspect that we will not end up with a single, comprehensive, deal by the end of the year. But a mini deal, covering the most important stuff, that allows our integrated supply chains to keep working, planes to keep flying and markets to be confident, but does not answer some of the less pressing questions.
Here I actually agree. Boris will probably get same bare bones deal related to goods and travel (aviation, trucking etc.). That way we might avoid queues of lorries etc.

Now, how beneficial will it be for the wider British economy? I guess we will see.

Personally I don't really think legislation enforcing hard deadline is that important. It is largely for show. Boris has such majority that he can pass another bill, say late summer, extending it, if needed. It might be minor U-turn be he is able to sell things like that to his supporters. Of course it might not be necessary, the UK government might also quietly agree to follow the EU rules in sectors where the deals are not agreed by the end of year. Without formally extending the transition period (so media won't have a feast about a U-turn, a British obsession).

I have a strong suspicion that by the end of year we will be much closely aligned with the EU than many Brexiters would like. Of course I might be wrong...

Last edited by geogregor; January 16th, 2020 at 12:54 AM.
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Old January 16th, 2020, 09:43 AM   #13239
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Ok, this is what post-Brexit divergence looks like.

A few points to note:

- rather than using Brexit to pursue a Luddite, selfish agenda, we are reforming subsidies to target sustainability goals
- rather than Brexit being a protectionist racket, as suggested earlier in this thread, we are resisting calls from vested interests to protect farmers from foreign competition

Are these the right reforms? Who knows? I'm not a farming expert, but Brexit allows us to change what we think is broken. And if it's not the right system, we can change it again, until we get it right. EU has been unable and unwilling to reform CAP despite its glaring flaws. That is the difference between an unaccountable bureaucratic superstate and an agile national democracy.

That's why people are excited about Brexit, because rather than just moaning about something out of our control, we have now, to coin a phrase, "taken back control." And a sense of control over one's life is one of the most psychologically rewarding things about being human.

Food security plan after Brexit: biggest shake-up to farming in 40 years
Bill requires regular monitoring of supplies and shift from CAP-style subsidies but no gate on lower quality imports


Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent
Thu 16 Jan 2020

The UK's agricultural bill puts greater emphasis on maintaining soil quality, and regulating fertiliser use.

The UK's food security is to be regularly assessed by parliament to ensure minimal disruption to supplies after the country leaves the EU and while new trade deals are sought.

The commitment will be part of the biggest shakeup of British agriculture in 40 years and requires a regular report to MPs outlining supply sources and household expenditure on food, as well as consumer confidence in food safety.

The move reflects concerns over potential disruptions post-Brexit, as more than a quarter of Britain‚€™s food comes from the EU and nearly a fifth from other countries.

The revision is one of a handful to the agriculture bill, introduced to parliament on Thursday more than a year after the previous government was forced to abandon the legislation amid Brexit turmoil.

Other changes include a stronger emphasis on the soil, at risk from overuse, erosion and nutrient loss; farmers are to receive help maintaining healthy soils, as well as with improvements to the tracing of livestock movements between farms. There will be powers to regulate fertiliser use and organic farming after Brexit.

Missing from the bill is a binding commitment to prevent trade deals allowing the import of food produced to lower standards than those to which British farmers must adhere. This has been a key demand of farmers concerned that after Brexit they will be undercut by cheap imports from the US and Asia, with lower food safety and animal welfare regulations.

Theresa Villiers, secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs, called the revised bill "one of the most important environmental reforms for many years" and said it would protect nature and biodiversity and help meet goals on the climate crisis.

‚€œ[This] will transform British farming, enabling a balance between food production and the environment which will safeguard our countryside and farming communities for the future, she said. ‚€œWe will move away from the EU‚€™s bureaucratic common agricultural policy and towards a fairer system which rewards our hard-working farmers for delivering public goods, celebrating their world-leading environmental work and innovative, modern, approach to food production.

At the heart of the bill is a shift away from the EU system, where farmers receive subsidies based on the amount of land they farm, to a process whereby farmers are paid for the public goods provided, including clean water, clean air, healthy soils and habitats for wildlife.

There will be a seven-year transition period for farmers to move from the current regulations under CAP, the EU's common agricultural policy, to a system of environmental land management contracts. Under these contracts, individual farmers will agree with the government a tailor-made set of goals with details on the measures they will take to manage their land and protect the environment.

For the duration of the current parliament, subsidies at the same rate as the EU ‚€“ about £3bn a year ‚€“ will be paid to farmers from taxpayer funds, but some of the richest farmers who benefit most from the system can expect to lose out when the new contracts are phased in.

Farming leaders were disappointed at the lack of a legal commitment to ensure trade deals did not allow entry to cheap, low quality, imports.

Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers‚€™ Union, said: ‚€œFarmers across the country still want to see legislation underpinning the government‚€™s assurances that they will not allow the imports of food produced to standards that would be illegal here through future trade deals. We will continue to press the government to introduce a standards commission as a matter of priority to oversee and advise on future food trade policy and negotiations.

Organic farmers were also concerned, saying the bill did not go far enough in supporting farmers to tackle climate and ecological emergencies.

Gareth Morgan, of the Soil Association, said: ‚€œMuch more is necessary to bring the radical changes our farming sector needs. Small tweaks to the status quo will not suffice. It is disappointing that the bill still does not commit to support farmers to adopt nature friendly agro-ecological farming, like organic, or environmental action across the whole farm, rather than in small areas. Nor does it signal support to enable the radical shift away from artificial fertiliser and pesticides needed to restore nature and soils capable of storing carbon.

The specific attention paid to soils was welcome, but more detail would be needed on how to implement measures to protect soil health, said Matthew Orman, director of the Sustainable Soils Alliance. ‚€œThe commitment for all soils to be sustainably managed by 2030 is now 10 years old. For this to be achieved, an ambitious strategy linking all the policy mechanisms ‚€“ education, regulation, assessment and incentivisation ‚€“ with clear milestones for delivery, is urgently needed.

Vicki Hird, farm campaign coordinator at Sustain, an NGO coalition, highlighted new provisions in the bill to improve oversight of the supply chain. Under these changes all sellers of agricultural produce will qualify for protection from abuse by business purchasers, which she said would help drive out unfair practices and protect farmers and could also aid reduction of food waste.

Last edited by bazzup; January 16th, 2020 at 10:10 AM.
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Old January 16th, 2020, 10:42 AM   #13240
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bazzup View Post
EU has been unable and unwilling to reform CAP despite its glaring flaws. That is the difference between an unaccountable bureaucratic superstate and an agile national democracy.
The CAP is undergoing major changes from 2020. There's an overall reduction in spending with caps on subsidies for large farms. There'll be compulsory rules on preserving soil quality, a return to crop rotation to reduce fertiliser use, measures to improve water quality and so on. The EU is hardly standing still on this issue.
https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info...ication_en.pdf

Like you I'm not a farmer or particularly knowledgeable about farming, so I don't know how different the approaches are or which measures are best. But it sounds like they're both heading in the same general direction with targeting of subsidies away from large interests towards promoting greater environmental protections.
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