GATT Art.24 — In-depth answers to frequently and not-so-frequently asked questions

Everything you wanted to know about GATT Art.24, for ‘with-deal’ Leavers, ‘no-deal’ Leavers, and — surprise, surprise — Remainers/Revokers

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED JUNE 27, 2019 | UPDATED NOVEMBER 9, 2019

This explanation of GATT Article 24 is pretty heavy-going,
because it looks at a lot of the detail. A much
simpler explanation is here.
.
See also:

The myth of a 10-year grace period, Brexit and trade talks with the EU  | The Article 24
red herring in less than 400 words
| Brexit through the magic land of Eksive
GATT Article 24: they still don’t get it (video)

I thought/hoped it would die away, but it features ever more prominently in Brexit news. The current favourite to be the next UK prime minister wants to use it, sparking a huge debate — some of it way off the mark. And yet, we really don’t need to be talking about it at all.

“It” is Article 24 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), more specifically the paragraphs dealing with free trade agreements.

The bottom line is this: GATT Article 24 governs free trade agreements in goods. Politically, the article is unimportant and should never have been brought into the debate.

So if Article 24 is unimportant, what is important? These questions are:

  • What kind of UK-EU deal is proposed?
  • What would it do?
  • Does it cover the UK’s needs? Who would it affect and how?
  • Does it cover the EU’s needs? Who would it affect and how?
  • What would it take for the UK and EU to agree?
  • How long would it take?

That’s it.

IN DETAIL

Continue reading “GATT Art.24 — In-depth answers to frequently and not-so-frequently asked questions”

A real beginner’s guide to GATT Article 24

And a plea to stop talking about it

Photo: Speed limits for 3-year-olds

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED JUNE XXIV, MMXIX | UPDATED NOVEMBER 9, 2019

We don’t usually argue about what a law means. Somehow this WTO rule has found its way into British political debate. It has become even more prominent because it’s advocated by Boris Johnson. And yet, we really don’t need to be talking about it at all.

I wrote a Twitter thread and was trying to recreate it as a blog post (it’s now published here). Then up popped a tweet from Dr Dominic Pimenta, responding to something then-UK Trade Secretary Liam Fox said:

“Yes I think this is needed. GATT 24 for a three year old please @CoppetainPU (Like you did for the WTO)”

So, this is for three-year-olds everywhere.

Continue reading “A real beginner’s guide to GATT Article 24”

A ‘WTO-deal’ Brexit? Video and text

I’d never heard of a ‘WTO-deal’ Brexit — until recently. What does it really mean? And does Brexit change it?

 

video iconAvailable as a video (4’40”) on YouTube

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED JUNE 17, 2019 | UPDATED JUNE 17

“Mr Speaker, can I welcome the Prime Minister ruling out a second referendum, and ruling out revoking article 50 and leaving a WTO — whether managed or not — deal on the table.”

— Kate Hoey MP,
House of Commons, January 21, 2019

A “WTO deal”. The phrase is spin used to camouflage the negativity of calling it “no deal”. But that’s what it is: no deal between the UK and EU.

We can question if “WTO deal” actually means anything in terms of a relationship between the UK and EU.

Usually the phrase refers to deals struck in negotiations within the WTO, as we shall see. That’s why many claim that for Brexit, it’s nonsense. A “WTO-deal” Brexit doesn’t exist.

Let’s be charitable and assume it might exist. If so, what would it mean? Not much. Continue reading “A ‘WTO-deal’ Brexit? Video and text”

Brexit through the magic land of Eksive

“Where are we?” one asks. “The magic land of Eksive,” the other replies. “It’s where the solution lies for all our problems. Now have you done what I asked you to do?”

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED MAY 31, 2019 | UPDATED MAY 31, 2019

“What’s this?”

“It’s the document you asked for, Sir.”

In the heart of the capital, on the banks of the Big River is an ancient palace. Except — like much of reality — that’s only what it looks like. It’s barely 180 years old, built to replace the real ancient palace, which was destroyed by fire.

Deep within it is a cupboard, in a room frequently used by the tribe known as the Ærgists. It has been spared the sewage that leaks through the ceilings in other parts of the building, but almost certainly not the asbestos.

It’s through that cupboard the two men have walked. Continue reading “Brexit through the magic land of Eksive”

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.

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 5: democracy and sovereignty weaponised

‘Democracy’ and ‘sovereignty’ are shorthand slogans used to avoid thinking more deeply, or to listen to each other

By Peter Ungphakorn
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE101.WORLD, MAY 3, 2019| POSTED 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 last 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:

5. What exactly does ‘undemocratic’ mean?

Continue reading “Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 5: democracy and sovereignty weaponised”

Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 2: Dishonesty and trade-offs

And still they keep coming. The ‘fantasies’ about Brexit. Slogans like ‘Just leave’ are easy to say, but the trade-offs are complicated

By Peter Ungphakorn
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE101.WORLD, APRIL 30, 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 second part of five 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:

2. Dishonesty and a failure to recognise trade-offs

Continue reading “Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 2: Dishonesty and trade-offs”

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 JUNR 6, 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”