Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Brexit: and what next...

There is increasing pressure for a 'multi-party' approach - with a campaign and petition gaining traction:
Brexit negotiations should be conducted by a multi-party committee | Campaigns by You

Meanwhile, what exactly would a 'soft-Brexit' suggest?
Know your soft Brexit - politics.co.uk

- and what are the options?
'Single market', 'customs union'... Your guide to Brexit jargon - Sky News

But, actually, most of us don't really understand the differences:

From hard Brexit to the Single Market, what do the key terms in the forthcoming talks mean? - Wales Online

Here's a handy guide from the Express:

What is the EU single market?
The single market is likely the most wide-reaching and ambitious trade agreement in modern history. As well as removing tariffs and taxes on business and trade, the EU single market also incorporates free movement of goods, people, services and capital. The four freedoms are enshrined in Brussels’ law and are a non-negotiable part of EU membership.

What is a free trade area?

A free trade area is different to a single market in that it is focused on removing tariffs, taxes and quotas on goods and services. Usually free trade areas are not concerned with “non-tariff” barriers or freedom of movement. Europe has its own free trade area separate from the EU – the European Free Trade Association. It is made up of non-EU members Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Other exampled of free trade areas are the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

What is a customs union?
A customs union goes one step further than a free trade area with members agreeing to apply the same tariffs to goods entering the union from external countries. Once goods are inside the union, they can move across borders tariff-free. For example, if an American good enters France (part of the EU customs union) if can travel onwards to Italy or Germany without having to pay additional taxes. Liam Fox has suggested that Britain might remain a part of the EU customs union as part of a transitional deal. Alternatively the UK could follow Norway’s lead. Norway is part of the single market but not the customs union, meaning it sets its own tariffs on external goods, while Norwegian products are imported freely into the EU.

EU single market, free trade area and customs union: Difference explained | Politics | News | Express.co.uk

eanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, the Guardian is looking at some of those uncomfortable stories:

UK businesses warn that quitting the single market and customs union without a trade deal would be disastrous for British jobs, investment and growth.
Applications from EU nurses to work in Britain are down by 96% since the Brexit referendum.
Retail sales, the services sector and new car sales all contracted in May as the Brexit effect on the pound hit living costs.
The UK economy grew more slowly than any other in the EU in the first quarter.
The so-called “Norway option” is back. Previously dropped because it requires free movement of people, this would see the UK retain full access to the single market by rejoining the European Free Trade Association (Efta).

And meanwhile in this part of the UK...
Devon MP blames Brexit for Tory collapse | Devon Live

We need certainty, say Devon business leaders
By HannahFinch | Posted: June 09, 2017
The region's business leaders are calling for stability in the wake of the General Election result.
They say uncertainty over the formation of the next government and leadership without a convincing mandate will add to the pressures of Brexit. And what the economy needs now is to stay focused on priorities.
Michael Beadel, Chairman of Stephens Scown LLP, a partner in the Western Morning News' #BackTheSouthWest campaign, said: "We face uncertainty over the form the next government will take and the knock on uncertainty over the Brexit process. The #BackTheSouthWest campaign is now more important than ever to ensure our voice is heard in Westminster."

Hung parliament creates new dangers for Plymouth businesses
By WT_Herald | Posted: June 11, 2017
SOFTLY SOFTLY: Will the hung parliament mean the UK will soften its approach to Brexit?
The hung parliament could mean there is more chance of a "soft" Brexit and even a prolonged "transition period", Plymouth businesses believe. George Cowcher, chief executive of Plymouth headquartered Devon Chamber of Commerce, said it will be very difficult for Prime Minster Theresa May to negotiate with Brussels following her general election failure.
He thinks the hung parliament outcome will strengthen the European Union's position. But he stressed that Plymouth and Devon businesses are mostly in favour of a Brexit deal which will keep the UK in the Single Market – which is what could happen now.

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