The Trump administration’s stances on the TPP in April probably established an all-time record for policy U-turns. The TPP’s major members, though, made real progress with the EU
The EU’s General Affairs Council agreed its timetable and directives for Britain’s exit negotiations on May 22, as the major UK and EU negotiators appeared to take strongly conflicting positions on their content.
Brexit and the Trump Revolution are often linked. What really unites them is the extraordinarily uncommercial attitude many of their politicians are taking to what real businesses want.
The UK House of Commons Select Committee on the Treasury has now published the correspondence revealing why it talks about its “collapse in confidence in the successful implementation of the Customs Declaration System” essential to UK apparel imports continuing after Brexit.
On 29 March, Britain’s Prime Minister signed a letter triggering the two-year process for leaving the European Union (EU). Though the negotiations will cover almost every aspect of British life, one issue affects our industry more than any other. Customs
The Chair of a UK Parliament Treasury Committee said on March 31 that “confidence had collapsed” in Britain’s having essential Customs IT infrastructure ready to handle the expected fivefold increase in Customs declarations in time for its planned Spring 2019 EU exit date.
An internal March 2016 document within the UK Customs Administration (known locally as HMRC), leaked by Britain’s Sunday Times on March 26, admits that “Any form of customs controls will increase the costs to businesses and consumers of imported and exported products. These costs can be both financial and measured in time/delays.”
“We will continue with tax reform,” said Paul Ryan, Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives at a March 24 press conference after the Republicans had lost their attempt at repealing the Obama-era healthcare system. “I spoke with the president, the Treasury secretary, his economic advisers earlier today about tax reform. So we are going to proceed with tax reform.”
A survey of UK voters’ attitudes towards Brexit published on March 21 shows both far higher approval of free trade with the other 27 EU countries after the UK leaves than is seen for free trade in any other EU country. Perhaps more surprising, the survey shows little difference in attitudes towards trade those voting for Brexit and those voting to Remain.
The UK is facing a €1.98 bn bill from the EU for “repeatedly ignoring warnings” of tax frauds on imported Chinese shoes and apparel. The case highlights grave systemic complications in Britain’s handling of trade which threaten to complicate further its preparations for leaving the EU.
UK media began carrying increasingly nervous stories in March about Britain’s ability to handle the flow of imports and exports after the UK leaves the EU in spring 2019.
The UK government was reported on March 1 to have instructed its departments to have plans ready for governing if Britain fails to secure an adequate free trade deal with the EU after leaving in spring 2017.
The UK will limit access to social benefits for EU migrants arriving after Britain leaves the EU – generally expected in spring 2019 – it was reported on February 26.
The UK will continue to allow substantial EU immigration “for years and years” after Brexit – generally expected in spring 2019 – the country’s Brexit minster admitted on February 21.
Calculated in square metres of fabric, UK total apparel imports in the last six months of 2016 (after the Brexit referendum and its subsequent sterling devaluation) fell just 0.3% over the same period in 2015.