Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 3: They ain’t seen nothing yet

A shock is in store for many who are impatient for the UK to ‘just leave’. There is more and probably worse to come.

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By Peter Ungphakorn
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE101.WORLD, MAY 1, 2019 | RE-POSTED HERE MAY 7, 2019 | UPDATED MAY 7, 2019

For months, the United Kingdom’s chaotic efforts to set up its departure from the European Union (Brexit) saw almost daily twists and turns. Tension mounted and the British moved ever closer to crashing over the cliff-edge and out of the EU, with only the flimsiest of parachutes.

This is the third of five parts on thoughts on what happened in the last couple of years and on what lies ahead. Several have been discussed before. They all contain new developments:

3. It can only get worse

Continue reading “Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 3: They ain’t seen nothing yet”

Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 1: Red Queen Theresa’s Race

Months of frantic efforts, take the UK more or less nowhere. Reflections on Brexit as Easter brings calm — but not for long

By Peter Ungphakorn
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE101.WORLD, APRIL 29, 2019 | RE-POSTED HERE MAY 7, 2019 | UPDATED MAY 7, 2019

For months, the United Kingdom’s chaotic efforts to set up its departure from the European Union (Brexit) saw almost daily twists and turns. Tension mounted and the British moved ever closer to crashing over the cliff-edge and out of the EU, with only the flimsiest of parachutes.

Members of the British Parliament were under round-the-clock pressure. They were the target of torrents of abuse. Several received death threats — taken seriously since MP Jo Cox was murdered by a right-wing extremist during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign.

Exhausted and stressed-out, they struggled mentally and emotionally to make rational decisions as over and over they debated and voted on the same issues.

Finally, early on April 11, for a second time the EU agreed to postpone the date of the UK’s exit. It was originally March 29 under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union — which governs an EU member’s departure — two years after British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered it.

The UK is now scheduled to leave the EU by October 31. Theresa May wants to do it by June 30, so that newly-elected British members of the European Parliament won’t have to take their seats. The chances of achieving that now look slim, but not completely impossible.

Then, a strange calm descended. MPs took a much-needed Easter break — this year April 19-22, and the week leading up to it.

Continue reading “Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 1: Red Queen Theresa’s Race”

Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 4: is the Prime Minister the problem?

May’s failure to discuss Brexit’s complexity at all meant the trade-offs were kept out of a poorly-informed and deteriorating the public debate

By Peter Ungphakorn
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE101.WORLD, MAY 2, 2019 | RE-POSTED HERE MAY 7, 2019 | UPDATED MAY 7, 2019

For months, the United Kingdom’s chaotic efforts to set up its departure from the European Union (Brexit) saw almost daily twists and turns. Tension mounted and the British moved ever closer to crashing over the cliff-edge and out of the EU, with only the flimsiest of parachutes.

This is the fourth of five parts on thoughts on what happened in the last couple of years and on what lies ahead. Several have been discussed before. They all contain new developments:

4. Theresa May’s handling worsened divisions

Continue reading “Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 4: is the Prime Minister the problem?”

Caught up in a war — the WTO and Brexit

What does leaving the EU ‘on WTO terms’ mean? A presentation on some of the implications

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED APRIL 6, 2019 | UPDATED APRIL 18, 2019

For some it’s “no deal” — a Brexit with nothing agreed between the UK and EU. Others prefer to hide that by calling it “leaving the EU on WTO terms”. What does that mean?

These are slides from a presentation given at Chatham House, London on March 11, 2019, looking at some of the implications.

Continue reading “Caught up in a war — the WTO and Brexit”

One last go. The Article 24 red herring in less than 400 words. Think ‘highway code’

“We want to use GATT Article 24” means “We want a free trade agreement in goods that complies with WTO rules”. It doesn’t say much

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED FEBRUARY 16, 2019 | UPDATED FEBRUARY 16, 2019

They still don’t understand. Article 24 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is still being pushed as a silver bullet to solve “no deal” Brexit.

“Article 24 […] is a simple, temporary basic free trade agreement (FTA) between UK and EU which allows tariffs and quotas to continue at zero whilst a full and comprehensive FTA is negotiated instead,” is a typical and very recent claim.

GATT Article 24 is nothing of the kind. The claim has been debunked over and over and over and over and over. Still the message hasn’t got through.

So here it is again, this time in less than 400 words.

Continue reading “One last go. The Article 24 red herring in less than 400 words. Think ‘highway code’”

What have the UK and Switzerland agreed on trade post-Brexit?

Some interesting insights are in a Swiss government information sheet, prepared mainly for Swiss companies

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED FEBRUARY 5, 2019 | UPDATED MARCH 23, 2019

What have the UK and Switzerland agreed on their trade relationship post-Brexit? Essentially, they are partly “rolling over” to the UK the present Swiss-EU trade relationship.

The roll-over is only “full” during the transition in the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement when the EU asks the other free-trade-agreement countries to treat the UK as if it were an EU member.

Otherwise, a number of significant parts of the Swiss-EU agreements are “disapplied”.

Continue reading “What have the UK and Switzerland agreed on trade post-Brexit?”

‘Do trade deals to escape the WTO.’ So why bother with it? — a presentation

The WTO has become a weapon in a war of words over other issues. For some Brexiters, it’s a deal to look forward to. For some Remainers, it’s a wreckage. For Trump, it’s “unfair”. That’s the worst possible way to get to know the trading system almost all of us rely on

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED FEBRUARY 13, 2019 | UPDATED FEBRUARY 13, 2019

This page is based on a presentation given on February 7, 2019, introducing the basics and current issues in the World Trade Organization (WTO). It includes a link to download a handout of the presentation.

It was part of a contribution to a “Westminster Workshop” on parliamentary oversight of trade agreements organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK in London, February 6–8, 2019.

Continue reading “‘Do trade deals to escape the WTO.’ So why bother with it? — a presentation”