Friday, 18 December 2020

The EU withdrawal process facing the United Kingdom.

 The EU withdrawal process facing the United Kingdom.


1.  No deal.

2.  Preferential access to the EU markets

"No deal"

This most extreme option required the United Kingdom to revert tot he status of a normal third-party EU trading partner, where trade is organized according to a set of basic guidelines set out by the WTO.

This radical option did not include any preferential access to the EU whatsoever - meaning that all EU borders, including the one dividing the Republic of Ireland with the UK's Northern Ireland, would have to be respected as if the UK were a foreign nation, with onerous restrictions on the movement of goods and people.  

 Preferential access

To have preferential access to the EU markets, three variations were considered:

  • signing a basic free-trade agreement,
  • continuing to be part of the customs union, or
  • remaining in the EU single market, implying full acceptance of EU norms.

The decision on which path to take became so intractable at one point that it was feared that the United Kingdom would exit the EU with no deal at all, putting the UK at the same level as every other country in the world economy without any preferential trade agreement.

Trade wars end up hurting everyone, including the countries starting them.  Protectionist measures with the imposition of tariffs would certainly be met by retaliatory measures from other countries, leading to the loss of many more jobs than those "saved."

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