brexit summed up

I’ve been bookmarking (see “brexit” in the bookmarks to the right). The main big problem with whatever form the Brexit takes — given that there’s no planning at all at this point — are over the treaties that cease to exist when Britain leaves.  See also this for a great background to the issue: Brexit: a detailed summary of what the hell is going on, for my American friends

On the treaties:

Britain is not formally allowed to negotiate new trade deals while still an EU member. It has signed off on a text said to replicate current trading arrangements with Switzerland. Other than that, hardly any of the 68 trade deals from which the UK benefits as an EU member, and which it said it would replicated by the time of departure, are near, and none will be ready by 29 March, according to the FT. Brexiters talk about “trading on WTO terms” as if it is what the world does, but it does not: it may trade under WTO rules, but all 164 members of the WTO have also agreed bilateral or regional trade deals that allow them to trade on much better terms than the WTO baselines. No sensible nation would leave the world’s largest single market, the EU, to trade with it on WTO terms, as would happen in the event of no deal.

And on the Irish question

When the UK leaves the EU, the border between Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland, which is currently invisible, will become the EU’s only land border with the UK. Such a border normally requires customs and other controls. Nobody wants that, partly because nobody wants a return to the violence of the period before the Good Friday agreement, which removed border checks. In theory, the post-Brexit trading arrangements between the EU and the UK will avoid a “hard” border, but they could take years to negotiate so the EU has insisted on a “backstop” guaranteeing the absence of a hard border until those arrangements are in place. The backstop leaves the whole of the UK in a customs union with the EU “unless and until” the EU agrees it can leave. Brexiters do not like this at all.

I’m just glad I’m not traveling to Britain this year. I can’t imagine the insanity at this point. Would we suddenly need visas? What? What’s really annoy ing is that googling up on this subject only finds a lot of speculation for U.S. travelers to Britain written in 2016. What’s the latest? C’mon you guys.

‘Aren’t you going insane?’: readers’ questions from beyond Brexitland

‘Aren’t you going insane?’: readers’ questions from beyond Brexitland

Jon Henley answers Brexit queries from confused readers around the world


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