Tuesday, December 18, 2012

You mean one can trade with the EU?

Well, well. Who would have believed it. Apparently, it is not absolutely essential to be part of the EU in order to trade with it or its member states. Nor is it absolutely essential to take on every bit of legislation and regulation the EU issues (and there are many bits) in order to do that trading.

Oh surely not, I hear you cry. That is just a myth propagated by eurosceptics who live in cloud-cuckoo land or fantasy land or whatever the latest description of what it is eurosceptics inhabit is. Actually, no. It comes from the government.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon put down the following Written Question:
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Statement by Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint on 6 December (WS 76-7) on the European Union Foreign Affairs Council, whether the outcome of the negotiations with Japan, Canada, Singapore and Morocco will require those countries to adopt all the legislation and regulations that apply to countries in the single market.
The Statement had enumerated all the countries the EU had signed or was about to sign or hoped to sign free trade agreements.

HMG in the shape of Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint (more here) replied:
It is not the case that as a result of these trade negotiations the countries concerned will have to adopt all the legislation and regulations that apply to EU member states.
The aim of these negotiations is to eliminate, as far as possible, duties applied to trade in goods and to address non-tariff barriers that affect trade in goods in services-ie rules, regulations and practices that affect market access. Non-tariff barriers can be overcome through a variety of methods. These include the adoption of international rules, mutual recognition of approaches to testing, standards, et cetera, and commitments to end discriminatory practices.
I wonder how jobs in those countries will be affected by greater trade with the EU.


  1. I wholeheartedly support the idea of an EU the idea that in some distant time in the future many European nations would come together in a federal state with all the benefits that implies; security, interstate harmony, prosperity and a powerful influence in world affairs. However now is not the time especially as the EU construct has gone in a direction that is having quite the opposite effect. For if the true ideals of the EU are ever to be achieved then a quite different approach has to be taken. First should have come the objectives to be achieved namely total integration and then the means as how to achieve them namely a building towards the goals block by block not as now by jerry building and Heath Robinson construction by those, a small clique of insiders, who have an imperfect understanding of what works best.

    If the current EU was to breakup now it would be the first step in actually guaranteeing it's success in the future. It's current states could get back to working on making their own economic, social and political models more appropriate for today's global demands and better prepare for closer cooperation with other potential EU states. Through loose cooperation now, a free trade area predicated upon mutually agreed agreements not centrally imposed diktat and the slow pooling of ideas and resources the EU could be rebuilt organically and with sound foundations.

    If the UK left now it could show the way by illustrating that non membership of the EU in it's present format works better. It can show that outside the union trade is enhanced not impaired, that groupings can be made to advance mutually desirable events in the world and once achieved break up. That pooling resources from time to time can ensure more security against hostile outside forces, NATO being a perfect example of this working already. That sovereignty can be put aside for the common good for limited periods and appropriate reasons. That the enhancement of democracy not it's dilution is the best way forward in establishing the common objective of creating a federal state of Europe that is democratic, transparent and accountable.

  2. I do not I support the idea of an EU, the idea for which was a 1950s solution to a 19th century problem of relations between a weak France and an aggressive Germany.

    I do not believe in big for the sake of it and the evidence suggests that smaller viable states are more prosperous that large ones which tend to become bloated, arrogant and bureaucratic. There will be no time in the future when European nations could come together advantageously, whether in a federal state (which is not on offer) or otherwise. There are no benefits to us in terms of security, interstate harmony, prosperity and a powerful influence in world affairs from such an agglomeration.

    Let's be clear that in a federal or unified large European State, Britain would be an insignificant element. We would effectively be a colony with odd historical freedoms and effective but discarded legal systems. We would be ruled by a narrow nomenklatura of politicians from Roman law countries who would be in permanent caucus against us.

    The conclusion must be that we will be Better Off Out and always better off out.