A Definitive Guide To The Brexit Negotiations

Deepak Malhotra – Harvard Business Review – August 2016

A MUST READ article. This outlines the various considerations that will and could come into play in the Brexit negotiations. The most comprehensive seen so far

Read here

Brexit: impact across policy areas

Parliamentary Research Briefing – http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ – 26th August 2016

“This paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers what impact Brexit might have. This will depend, among other things, on the Brexit negotiations, whether the UK stays in the European Economic Area and how the Government fills any policy gaps left by withdrawal.”

pdf here

Europe after Brexit: A proposal for a continental partnership

Jean Pisani-Ferry, Norbert Röttgen, André Sapir, Paul Tucker AND Guntram B. Wolff – Bruegel Group – 29th August 2016

“This paper leaves aside the issue of EU reform and focuses on the desirable EU-UK relationship after Brexit. The authors argue that none of the existing models of partnership with the EU would be suitable for the UK. They propose a new form of collaboration, a continental partnership, which is considerably less deep than EU membership but rather closer than a simple free-trade agreement”

Read here

Sick Man of Europe: Britain and Nonsensical EU Referendum

Matthew Jamison, Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, Whitehall – Strategic Culture Foundation – 16th December 2015

This examines the history of the British view of its place in the world from decline of Empire to our discomfort with Europe.

Read here

Brexit requires more than political will — it needs to be capable of happening

David Allen Green (@DavidAllenGreen) – The Financial Times – 30th August 2016

“Wanting something to happen is never enough. More than mere desire is needed. This simple truth is obvious in the current state of Brexit policy in the UK. …”

Read here

Brexit means Brexit – But in reality it’s a long time away

David Allen Green (@DavidAllenGreen) – The Evening Standard – 9th August 2016

The first article I’ve seen that touched on the possibilities of litigation arising out of any Brexit issues mishandled by the government. The author is a major legal tweeter worth following for his insights into important legal matters, and will be very useful reading during our negotiations. He writes frequently for the FT as well.

Read here

Why Brexit won’t mean that we’ll get a better trade deal

Oliver Kamm (@OliverKamm) – The Times – 2nd August 2016

This article introduces to many people the concept of comparative advantage. The original, behind a paywall, can be read here

Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate, wrote some years ago: “I believe that much of the ineffectiveness of economists in public debate comes from their false supposition that intelligent people who read and even write about world trade must grasp the idea of comparative advantage. With very few exceptions, they don’t . . .”

Sadly, public debate on both sides of the Atlantic bears out his pessimism. Economists understand the impact of trade flows. Trade between two countries generally raises the real incomes of both by allowing them to specialise in what they produce. It doesn’t matter if one of those countries is, in absolute terms, less efficient in all tradable goods and services than the other. It will still benefit from being able to specialise. Trade allows it to allocate scarce resources more efficiently towards more productive activities.

This is a hard message to get over in American politics. Donald Trump is fiercely opposed to free trade, likening President Obama’s pending trade deal with about a dozen Pacific Rim nations to the “rape of our country”. Democrats, too, are hostile to trade. Their reasoning is that trade agreements may weaken protections for organised labour. Way back in 2008, Hillary Clinton called the North America Free Trade Agreement (or Nafta, a notable achievement of Bill Clinton’s presidency) a mistake and called for “time out” on further trade agreements. Since then, the party has shifted further towards the views of the labour unions.

This is all terribly misguided. Economists argue that differences in wage rates between, say, American and Mexican workers primarily reflect differences in labour productivity. The main effect of Nafta for Americans has been to abolish Mexico’s high tariffs on US exports. Mr Obama has pressed in his second term for two main trade deals — the Pacific deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the EU. Both have flaws but they’re right in principle: they’ll expand market access by reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.

That shouldn’t be controversial but in today’s political climate it is. The sluggish pace of trade growth since the financial crisis is ominous for a global economy that is facing the risk of a sharp slowdown.

British debate is also mired in misconceptions about trade. Over the past month, Brexiteers have argued that EU member states will cut us a favourable trade deal because of the substantial trade surplus they run with us; the depreciation of sterling since the vote will be beneficial by boosting exports and Britain can be a beacon of free trade by signing its own agreements, unencumbered by the EU.

All of this is fantasy. First, most EU member states don’t run a wide trade surplus, or indeed a surplus at all, with the UK. The aggregate figure is dominated by Germany and the Netherlands. On their own, those countries can’t decide terms for us, even supposing they were driven exclusively by narrow calculations of trade advantage.

Second, sterling depreciation isn’t a remedy for Britain’s wide current account deficit (which amounted to 5.4 per cent of GDP in 2015). It reflects investor expectations of weaker growth and hence lower interest rates. It’s not to Britain’s benefit if domestic demand contracts. That’s no way to rebalance the economy.

Third, Britain doesn’t have the luxury of time to conclude trade agreements and it doesn’t have leverage. If President Clinton or President Trump is unenthusiastic about a trade deal with the EU, they won’t hurry to conclude one with the UK. As Mr Obama has said, we go to the back of the queue. It’s a hard truth: Brexit damages our trade relations and hence our economic prospects.

Who pays for the EU and how much does it cost the UK?

Ian Begg, London School of Economics – 27th January 2016

“Disentangling fact from fiction in the EU Budget”

pdf here

The Flexcit Report

Richard North and Christopher Brooker for the Leave Alliance – 13th July 2016

This is a serious attempt to examine the implications of various Brexit scenarios and runs to over 400 pages. The authors are journalists that have written for the Telegraph and Private Eye and have been considering these matters for some years. They consider, on page 48, that the implications of Brexit Max, the WTO option, to be more than 6 million fresh job losses.

pdf here

Norway is threatening to totally derail Brexit

Adam Payne (@adampayne26) – Business Insider 9th August 2016

Until now I had thought Brexit Light was a painless option in contrast with harder options. This article highlighted risks we may not have considered. Any Brexit path is open to veto by the other members of the organisation we want to join to replace the EU, whether it be EFTA, the EEA or WTO.

Read here