The Tories have just shown the waiting press and public their variant on the 2019 General Election battle bus, emblazoned with the rallying cry “GET BREXIT DONE”. And if they are returned to power, they will play hardball with those Rotten Eurocrats™: should the free trade deal on offer from the EU not be to their liking, they will be more than happy to leave on WTO terms. After all, what’s not to like for freedom loving Tories?
Bozo sells out to German bus no shock horror
Countries like Australia are going to be queuing up to trade with us, no questions asked. Or rather, they aren’t, at least, not without a hardball game of their own, as the Australian edition of the Guardian has made plain. “Australia demands compensation over Brexit trade disruption … Country’s claim that meat exports are suffering wins support from 14 countries” is the headline. And this is what awaits the UK at the WTO.
There was more. “Australia and a host of non-EU countries are demanding compensation from the UK and the EU for Brexit-related disruption to trade. During negotiations at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Australia said its beef and lamb exports had already been adversely affected by Brexit confusion”. Anyone supporting them on this?
The answer to that one is yes. “The country’s claim that Australian farmers suffered losses and could continued to do so won immediate support from 14 countries including the US, India, New Zealand, China and Canada”. Would that be the same USA with which we are supposed to be getting a great trade deal? Well, yes it is. So what’s the problem?
“The EU limits the volume of agricultural imports from the rest of the world that can come into the trading bloc without full tariffs being applied. A certain amount can come from outside the EU, subject to a finite number of ‘tariff rate quotas’ (TRQs) which allow for lower or reduced duties … Britain’s departure from the EU would take with it a portion of the ‘tariff rate quotas’ available to Australian companies, but the two sides cannot agree on how meat should be carved”. So the dispute has now ended up at the WTO.
Britain and the EU say no compensation is required. But “The US called the EU and British proposals ‘unjustifiable’ and New Zealand said it undermined the general principle that no change to existing WTO arrangements should leave WTO members worse off. Brazil also commented, saying that trade arrangements proposed for Northern Ireland could breach WTO rules”. What you will not see on the side of the Tory battle bus.
The Guardian Australia article concludes with this observation: “Australia is in the midst of negotiating a free-trade agreement with the EU and has signed a ‘mutual recognition agreement’ with the UK after a globe-hopping trade mission by Liam Fox, the former trade secretary”. It’s rather obvious which of those is more beneficial to the UK.
And we only get the less beneficial one if the charade that is Brexit is followed through, to the supposed sunlit uplands of the WTO, where we can enjoy years of trade disagreements and a final judgment handed down by a body where we don’t have a vote.
You thought the WTO was more democratic than the EU? You were sold a pup.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at