Brexit “Real Progress” in Trade Talks

Liz Truss

The British Minister of Commerce reiterated that the UK could carry out Brexit without a trade agreement.

(Photo: AFP)

London Britain and the EU are making “real progress” in their Brexit talks, according to British Trade Minister Liz Truss. An agreement is possible, said Truss on Friday. At the same time, however, she affirmed that the United Kingdom could implement Brexit without precise regulations for trade if Britain’s independence is not preserved.

The clock is ticking as the UK and the EU negotiate their future relationship. At the end of the year, the transition period, during which the UK still applies EU rules, expires. After that, chaos threatens. That could hit the economy hard. New tariffs on many products would then be the order of the day. Issues that are particularly contentious are rules on fair competition, dispute settlement procedures and fishing quotas in UK waters.

In the end, neither side wanted to make major compromises, which is why talks stalled. However, daily talks were agreed on Thursday. From an EU perspective, negotiations can take place until mid-November. Then an agreement should be in place so that parliaments have enough time to ratify it this year.

The UK signed the first major post-Brexit trade deal with Japan on Friday. However, the world’s third largest economy is a much smaller trading partner than the EU.

More: Holger Schmieding: A hard Brexit would hit the British above all

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Badly injured Virgil van Dijk risks long absence

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk was injured facing Everton on October 17, 2020. Laurence Griffiths/Reuters

Victim of a big charge which is controversial in England, Saturday, October 17 during the Liverpool-Everton derby (2-2), Virgil van Dijk could not replay for several months. The Reds confirmed on Sunday that the defenseman, struck by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, is suffering from a ligament injury in his left knee and will undergo surgery. Liverpool specifies that “no precise timetable” has yet been set for his return to competition. But in Merseyside, we fear that the Dutchman will be absent for several months.

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a new trial in the mass grave truck case

What are the facts ?

A new trial opens on Monday, October 5, in the case of the mass grave truck found in London. The facts date to October 23, 2019. East of the British capital, a refrigerated truck is found in the industrial area of ​​Grays. Inside, the bodies of 31 men and eight women, including two 15-year-olds, were found piled up.

The investigation, carried out jointly by Great Britain, Ireland, France and Belgium, will later reveal that they were Vietnamese migrants who were trying to reach the United Kingdom illegally in the hope of a better life.

The drama had shed light on the dangers of these clandestine migration channels. While many Vietnamese families go into debt to send one of their own to Europe, traffickers take advantage of the vulnerability of these people in transit to exploit them in nail bars or illegal cannabis farms.

Who are the accused?

In all, four people are scheduled to appear on Monday, October 5, before judges at the Old Bailey Criminal Court in London. They are accused of 39 manslaughter, human trafficking and aid in illegal immigration. The trial is expected to last five weeks.

The driver of the truck to Zeebrugge (Belgium) Eamonn Harrison, 23, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and aiding illegal immigration on August 28. He is also accused of having supplied the container for the refrigerated truck. He was extradited from Northern Ireland last July.

Three other people appear with him. Gheorghe Nica, 43, has dual Romanian and British nationality. He denied all 39 counts of manslaughter and aiding illegal immigration. Valentin Calota, 37, and Christopher Kennedy, Northern Irishman, 23, have also denied any conspiracies to help illegal immigration.

A first trial was held in Vietnam in September. What was the verdict?

On September 14, seven people were sentenced in Vietnam by the court in Ha Tinh province (center). They were found guilty of participating to varying degrees in “The organization of the smuggling of migrants”. Four Vietnamese aged 26 to 36 received sentences ranging from two and a half to seven and a half years in detention. The other three were given suspended prison terms.

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Johnson bends the resistance from the north, even the Manchester rebels in lockdown

A negotiated solution was tried first, but after the resistance went on for over 10 days, the government of Boris Johnson has decided to use the hard way and impose the lockdown on the Greater Manchester region, which has tried in every way to oppose the new restrictions by asking at least to receive more financial support for local businesses that will have to close.

For at least 28 days the 3 million inhabitants of the area will be placed on level 3 alert, the maximum, and they will be forbidden to meet people who are not cohabiting, if not outdoors and a maximum of six people, starting from Friday 23 October . All bars and pubs will be closed, except those that also work as restaurants, which will be able to continue to serve but only small tables made up of cohabitants, schools will also remain open. With the hope of avoiding a national lockdown, the British government has put in place a three-level alarm system, thus diversifying the restrictions in the country.

Tier 3 had already been placed in Liverpool and the county of Lancaschire but the mayor of Greater Manchester, the Labor Andy Burnham, has tried in every way to oppose, supported by the mayors of the municipalities in the area and also by several deputies, some of them Conservatives, elected in the so-called Red Wall, the North that has always been Labor who in the last elections, however, voted Tory to support the line tough on Johnson’s Brexit. “Tier 3 mostly affects the lowest paid people, those who work in pubs, who drive taxis, and all those workers who are usually forgotten by Westminster, but we will not do the same here,” promised Burnham, the popular leader of the uprising. against the lockdown called The King in the North, like Jon Snow from Game of Thrones.

“Conservatives have treated local communities, particularly in the Midlands, Northwest and Northeast with contempt, and their leaders. Labor recognizes the need for stricter restrictions on public health. However, this must be accompanied by additional financial support, ”said the party leader Keir Starmer.

And more funds was what Burnham was asking to accept the restrictions, funds in addition to the 22 million pounds already foreseen for the region, which are calculated on the basis of the number of inhabitants, allocating 8 for each one. Lancashire negotiated £ 30m for business support and the Liverpool city region received £ 44m. Manchester initially asked for 90 then over the days it lowered the claims to 75 and finally to 65. The government would not have gone beyond 60, however too little according to local leaders who have compacted behind the rebel mayor.

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With government incentives granted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, which have been greatly reduced, now with the closure of the activities the government pays only 67% of the salary to those who are not fired. Up to 1,800 pubs may close in Greater Manchester, as well as many other businesses. But the decision to impose the lockdown is due to the fact that the intensive care beds of the 12 hospitals in the area are close to saturation point. In fact, government experts themselves are criticizing Johnson’s line and claiming that more than local restrictions, a hard two-week nationwide lockdown would be needed to break the chain of contagions. But the premier for the moment pulls straight on his way.

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Joe Biden win could give Boris Johnson a hard time

The Democratic candidate, who has Irish roots, has never hidden his lack of taste for Brexit.

If Biden were to be elected, it will not be the end of the world for Johnson, but it will undoubtedly take a little time for the bond to take hold.
If Biden were to be elected, it will not be the end of the world for Johnson, but it will undoubtedly take a little time for the bond to take hold. EDDIE MULHOLLAND/AFP

In London

In the summer of 2016, three months before the presidential election, Donald Trump tweeted that he would be called soon «Mr Brexit». He meant by that that he was going to defy the forecasts, to create a surprise, as the victory of the yes in the referendum on the exit from the EU had done. Beyond that, there was of course a political convergence. Didn’t Trump and Johnson show the same willingness to “Clean the backwater”, to rid the aisles of power of experts, lobbyists and other bureaucrats who run politics in circles?

Obviously, a re-election of Donald Trump would be more comfortable for Boris Johnson. The US president – known to have little affection for the EU – has regularly touted Brexit and says Johnson was doing “good job”. Without offering him the “Magnificent agreement” of free trade that he had dangled and that the British Prime Minister dreamed of concluding last summer, in order to benefit from a means of pressure on the EU. that

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Brexit and “no deal”, the Italian companies that risk more with hard brexit- Corriere.it

The deadline of 31 December 2020 is now only a month and a half away and, according to the latest statements by the British premier Boris Johnson, the hypothesis of one hard Brexi it seems more and more concrete. Self European Union e UK will not be able to reach an agreement by that date, the commercial relations between the two blocs will follow the rules of the WTO, with the return of customs e duties which would have serious repercussions on Made in Italy. In case of no deal, in fact, theexport italiano in 2021 it would suffer a contraction of 12.1% not only due to the new tariff barriers, but also following the demand reduction internal and del depreciation of the pound. This was revealed by an analysis on the possible effects of a no-deal Brexit conducted by Sace’s research office.

The sectors most affected

Italian exports to the United Kingdom as early as February 2020 had recorded a -8.2% compared to the same month of 2019. To this was added the economic shock caused by the pandemic. The effects were seen especially in April when Italian sales to London registered a -40.8%. In this context, the absence of a trade agreement between Europe and the United Kingdom would further penalize exports. The products most affected would be those of instrumental mechanics, means of transport, electrical and electronic appliances which in 2021 would record a contraction of 27.6%. Consumer goods, on the other hand, are expected to decline by 6.7% and intermediate goods by 4.7%.

An average duty of 3.3% would be introduced on European products, without any new non-tariff barriers (while the EU would introduce an average tariff of 3.1% and equivalent non-tariff barriers in terms of duties at 1.4%) . This would cause a collapse of confidence in London which would have repercussions on the trend of the stock market and industrial production also in the months following January 1, 2021 – reads Sace’s analysis -. The restart of Made in Italy sales in the British market would therefore be postponed to 2022, with a loss forecast for the value of our exports of goods of 3.7 billion euros in 2021 alone.

The risks for the agri-food industry

For the agri-food sector, from an economic point of view, the reduced negative effect (-0.4%) remains due to the unknown factor of duties. On this Sace takes up a study by the Bank of Italy according to which with the Hard Brexit the tariff that would affect food and drinks would be far above average.

Food and drink exports to the UK are worth 3.4 billion euros, Coldiretti recalls. With the exit from the EU, Great Britain could introduce legislation that penalizes Italian excellence, such as the Nutri-score label. This labeling system, also known as “traffic light label” and already adopted by many British supermarkets, rejects almost 85% of the PDO Made in Italy products, including Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano, which have a turnover of about 85 million on the British market. EUR. Without an agreement, Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) products – which represent over 30% of Italian exports to London – may no longer be recognized and protected in the United Kingdom.

Italian CIA-Agricoltori also warned of a no-deal Brexit. Despite the global crisis from Covid-19, the export of Made in Italy agri-food to the United Kingdom, with a value of 2.2 billion euros between January and August, grows by 5% over the same period of 2019 – underlines the Confederation Italian farmers -. The impact of a no deal on the sector would interrupt a positive trail that led to a 46% increase in exports of Italian food across the Channel in the decade 2010-20.

The effects on tourism

The export of goods would not be the only one to suffer the backlash of a failed agreement. In this regard, Sace recalls that the United Kingdom in 2019 represented the fourth outlet market for Italian exports of services with almost 9 billion euros, of which 43% constituted by tourism. In the first six months of 2020, due to the coronavirus, tourist flows from the United Kingdom have suffered a drastic reduction: -67.3% of British travelers at the Italian border compared to the first half of 2019. A no-deal could trigger a further collapse of the sector.

October 20, 2020 (change October 20, 2020 | 11:52 am)

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Boris Johnson facing the anger of his peers at his party convention

Bad weather for Boris Johnson. Did the coronavirus get the better of the character’s good nature, his fantasy? The British Prime Minister is in small shape. He approaches not without apprehension the Congress of the Conservative Party which, Covid-19 obliges, is held by videoconference from October 3 and not, as planned, in Birmingham.

Bad luck?

Nine months after leading the party to a final victory in the general election, ensuring it an absolute majority with more than 80 members of Parliament – something that had not been seen since Margaret Thatcher – Boris Johnson is in a more than delicate position in the polls.

Is it just a bad patch or a real inability to deal with the country’s problems? ” What should have been a triumph after the election, should also have allowed him to carry out the Brexit he wanted. However, from the month of March, Boris Johnson was confronted with the Covid crisis, which he badly negotiated by underestimating it and by confining the country too late. Then he himself fell seriously ill, and he had a child », Notes Catherine Marshall, university professor in British history and civilization at Cy Cergy Paris University and director of the Agora laboratory.

→ READ. Brexit: five former British prime ministers united against Boris Johnson

To which is added ” the rebellion of conservative parliamentarians, split into multiple factions ”. And the list is long: one very to the right, led by Iain Duncan Smith, former leader of the party, the other composed of the newly elected Commons of the Labor constituencies of the North, both blaming the Prime Minister for the new restrictive measures concerning the Covid, taken without even going through Parliament. Another group is made up of parliamentarians from the “1922 committee”, grassroots members of the party who also demand from the prime minister that any future decisions be announced to parliament first.

“The rising star of the party”

Added to this are « remainers » – in favor of maintaining the country in the European Union (EU) -, around twenty deputies around Robert Neill. They have not digested the recent draft law on the internal market which goes back on part of the divorce agreement with the EU. ” They feel that by violating international law in this way, the country is behaving like a “rogue state” », Comments Catherine Marshall.

On the contrary, the members of the European Research group are in favor of a hard Brexit. They approve of this controversial bill.

→ EXPLANATION. Brexit, UK divided over Boris Johnson’s bill

There remain, finally, those within the party who find that the Prime Minister does not have the stature for the post and carry their hopes towards 11 Downing Street, residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister of Finance), Rishi Sunak , considered more and more, according to Catherine Marshall, as ” the rising star of the party “. “He was able to offer solutions to the Covid crisis, she continues. He speaks the truth before Parliament by announcing, for example, that he will not be able to save all companies … And he gives the feeling of knowing his files well, unlike Boris Johnson.

Crispin Blunt, a pro-Brexit conservative, did not hide his disappointment in an interview with the American daily The New York Times. Boris Johnson, he said, “ seems to have ceded control of his administration to those who do not share his own values “. An allusion to the Prime Minister’s shadow adviser, Dominic Cummings, hated by the majority of the Conservatives.

But does Boris Johnson really defend values? And which ones? While having a strong position in Parliament, he does not seem able to give a clear direction to his action. The road until 2024, when his mandate ends, seems a long road strewn with pitfalls.

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Faced with pressure from London, Europeans are staying the course

Correspondent in Brussels

If there is one quality that we should recognize in Europeans, it is their tenacity. Boris Johnson had this bitter experience. At this point, not one of London’s maneuvers has succeeded in dividing the Twenty-Seven or deviating from their course. Neither the pursuit of «blame game», neither the sterile sessions of discussions, nor the threats to put an end to the negotiations. Europeans have never left the discussion table. “It will be the British who will stop the negotiations. Not us”, warns a European diplomat. However, the Twenty-Seven would like to seal a trade agreement with the United Kingdom so as not to further upset economies already very weakened by Covid-19. “It would be logical and good for both sides, Britain and the European Union, to come to an agreement in the face of many global challenges. If necessary, we have to do without it, but I think it would be better if we had such an agreement ”, believes Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But this agreement will not be able to be done at any price, repeat the leaders over and over again, listing for months the three prerequisites that have become the main sticking points in the negotiations: fair competition rules in order to protect against possible British dumping, a fishing deal allowing Europeans to continue catching in British waters and robust governance, as London already plans to slash the Withdrawal Agreement with its bill in the domestic market.

And this is what they repeated on Thursday when they arrived in Brussels, where they met for a European Council devoted in particular to Brexit, two and a half months from the end of the transition period and while their last discussions of background on this subject go back to … a year. Unsurprisingly, Emmanuel Macron insisted a lot on fishing. “In no case can our fishermen be the sacrifices of this Brexit”, warned the president. “Finding a good compromise is an important point of this discussion”, he added, thus leaving the door open for negotiation but also speaking of a France ready for a «no deal». No question of showing the slightest excitement.

SEE ALSO – Brexit: an agreement with London is preferable, but the EU “can do without it”, according to Merkel

During the afternoon, as Commission President Ursula von der Leyen left the meeting in a hurry to self-quarantine because a member of her team had tested positive, the chief negotiator of the ‘EU, Michel Barnier, took stock of the situation, speaking of“An outcome still uncertain” but also claiming that British negotiator David Frost wanted a deal. The leaders would also have shown great unity during their discussions, in particular on the fisheries file which, however, concerns only 8 countries out of the 27. The Spaniard appeared much firmer than usual when the The Italian and the Luxembourger, relatively unaffected, said they were attentive to the subject.

In its conclusions, the European Council invites London to “The necessary movements” on the three main bottlenecks in order to reach an agreement “in the coming weeks”. Charles Michel boasted “An extremely calm and extremely peaceful position”. Leaving the meeting, Angela Merkel called for an effort on both sides. “We asked Britain to remain ready to compromise in terms of the deal. Of course, this also means that we have to make compromises ”, she said, admitting however that each party “has its red lines».

On Thursday, the Twenty-Seven mainly returned the ball to «BoJo», who, in early September, had set the October 15 deadline for an agreement and let it be known on Wednesday that he would make his intentions known after learning of the Europeans’ position. He must react this Friday. Could he go so far as to break up? The mood, in any case, was cloudy Thursday night in London. Through the voice of David Frost, the UK said to itself “disappointed” by the demands of the Twenty-Seven and “Surprised that the EU is no longer committed to working intensively” in the formal summit conclusions. “It’s not for the Europeans to intensify the negotiations, it’s for the British to move”, we entrust to the Commission. “We have toughened the conclusions. And they were surprised because they are much firmer than what was planned in the project ”, says a European diplomat. For now, the Twenty-Seven do not exclude any scenario. The European Council also called on Thursday “The Member States, the Union’s institutions and all the stakeholders to step up their work to prepare, at all levels, for whatever will happen”. Including therefore a «no deal».

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the prospect of a great leap into the void on January 1, 2021

FOCUS – With or without a trade deal, the UK’s exit from the single market will lead to ‘a huge break’.

On December 31, 2020 the United Kingdom will leave the internal market of the European Union.
On December 31, 2020 the United Kingdom will leave the internal market of the European Union. Delphine Poggianti / Delphotostock – stock.adobe.com

The twenty-seven are working to keep their calm, but none can ignore that the disruption between the UK and the EU will be significant from 1is January 2021. Including if the two parties manage to reach a trade agreement. The UK will leave the single market at the end of December, putting a de facto end to the free movement of people, goods, services and capital. “Even with the best trade deal in the world, a huge break is to be expected», Summarizes a European diplomat.

● Sometimes prohibitive customs duties

If trade negotiations fail, then tariffs and quotas will apply on both sides. On the EU side, customs duties levied on British imports represent around 4%. But that average doesn’t mean much. The bill will be very steep for certain goods exported from the UK to the EU: 10% on cars, 12% on clothing, 40% on

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Joe Biden win could give Boris Johnson a hard time

The Democratic candidate, who has Irish roots, has never hidden his lack of taste for Brexit.

If Biden were to be elected, it will not be the end of the world for Johnson, but it will undoubtedly take a little time for the bond to take hold.
If Biden were to be elected, it won’t be the end of the world for Johnson, but it will undoubtedly take a little time for the bond to take hold. EDDIE MULHOLLAND/AFP

In London

In the summer of 2016, three months before the presidential election, Donald Trump tweeted that he would be called soon «Mr Brexit». He meant by that that he was going to defy the forecasts, create a surprise, as the victory of the yes in the referendum on the exit from the EU had done. Beyond that, there was of course political convergence. Didn’t Trump and Johnson show the same willingness to “Clean the backwater”, to rid the aisles of power of experts, lobbyists and other bureaucrats who run politics in circles?

Obviously, a re-election of Donald Trump would be more comfortable for Boris Johnson. The US president – known to have little affection for the EU – has regularly touted Brexit and says Johnson was doing “good job”. Without offering him the “Magnificent agreement” of free trade that he had dangled and that the British Prime Minister dreamed of concluding last summer, in order to benefit from a means of pressure on the EU. that

This article is for subscribers only. You have 75% left to discover.

Subscribe: 1 € the first month

Can be canceled at any time

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