Post by Roger Ford
What about the multitude of people over here (including high ranking
political figures) who still refuse to accept the democratic Brexit
referendum result and have consequently plunged the country into a
seemingly never-ending political crisis and total humiliation in the
eyes of a watching world
After reading a bit more about the impact on trade agreements if Britain leaves
the EU, I have my own theory as to one major reason the so-called elites are so
opposed to a no deal Brexit. It's the immense and complex effort required by the
civil service (think Sir Humphrey Appleby :-) to reconstruct UK-EU trade
relations, and to re-negotiate World Trade Organization deals, which could
involve getting the approval of each of the other 160+ WTO nations!!!
Many people might not realise that the EU has important trade agreements with
the WTO. If Britain leaves the EU it will no longer be able to take advantage of
these agreements and will have to negotiate new, unilateral agreements to
To quote from the introduction to eBook "Brexit Beckons: Thinking ahead by
leading economists" - written in the months following the referendum in 2016.
"UK policy in many areas has been made at the EU level for decades. Leaving the
EU thus means that the UK will have to replace EU policies, rules, and
agreements with British policies, rules, and agreements. As we shall
see, this will prove a massively complex task..."
..."many of the UKs rights and obligations in the WTO are entwined with those
of other EU members."
Imagine being a senior civil servant responsible for carrying out and achieving
these tasks - perhaps these (SE England based) civil servants (as well as other
elite Remainer interest groups) have been privately applying pressure to MPs to
not allow a 'no deal' (hard) Brexit.
"Perhaps the most serious economic issue in the WTO package of Brexit problems
is the WTOs Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). This is the agreement that
gives British companies the right to bid for government purchasing contracts in
other members of the agreement. As these members include most major economies,
being part of this agreement is important economically for UK-based firms. Rollo
and Winters, for example, note that the annual value of procurement activities
opened up by membership in the GPA is $1.3 trillion.
One of the reasons that this could be difficult is that fact that the UKs
participation in the GPA is only via the EUs participation in the agreement. If
the UK is not allowed to remain a party to the agreement, the UK will lose its
rights of access to all GPA members procurement markets upon exit from the EU.
Moreover, since the UKs procurement market is important globally, Brexit will
change the deal that third nations struck with the EU on government procurement.
In the world of trade, such changes trigger renegotiations to rebalance deals.
In this way, Brexit will cause problems for the EU. This matters since all
existing GPA members, including the EU, have the right to veto the UKs
accession to the GPA."
While sticky and surely slow to resolve, the WTO headaches may not be a major
source of problems since WTO members tend to apply the status quo until a new
arrangement is negotiated as long as everyone plays nice. As Rollo and
Winters point out, maintaining the goodwill of trading partners should be a
very high diplomatic priority.