WEEKEND WEB: Spalding Guardian letters
Views on Brexit, the Poppy Appeal and Advent
There will be no bonfire of EU regulations
Craig Jackson (Guardian letters, November 23) is quick to denigrate anyone who challenges Vote Leave’s inspirational optimistic vision of Britain’s post-Brexit golden future.
EU regulations harmonise the quality of design, materials, components, user safety, energy efficiency, consumers’ and workers’ rights. Harmonised product regulations maximises opportunities through specialisation to minimise production costs and price and maximise people’s living standards. Product standards not compliant with EU regulations will be unsaleable in the single market. There will be no bonfire of EU regulations.
World Bank officials acknowledge the intellectual validity of the gravity model of international trade Sovereign States trade most with their near neighbours depending on the terms of trade.
International trade flows are measured in dollars to facilitate comparative analysis. At an exchange rate of £1 = $1.30 in 2016 China’s imports into Britain were valued at £47bn. Britain’s exports to China valued at £20bn.
London remains the premier global gold bullion market. Bullion dealers import gold ingots to sell on to foreign customers. Bullion flows fluctuate in volume and price. Gold flows with negligible British contribution to value distort and flatter Britain’s trade flow data. Bullion markets major customer’s China, Switzerland and India.
China’s full membership of the World Trade Organisation is being challenged by USA and EU for its unfair trading practices; state subsidies and dumping at prices below production costs on world markets. Trading into China involves reaching payment and credit terms, wastage and shipping costs. The Chinese make frequent random changes to product standards and do not accept any equivalent between product specifications. Goods sold in China have to be trade marked, for a fee, by a Chinese Accreditation Agency. Every single consignment must be accompanied by a science led product analysis, appropriate certificates and licences.
Advice from chief executive of Stickology a successful small business exporter into China of tea and high tea products. Chinese trade agencies are lax in addressing widespread counterfeiting and in protecting patent and intellectual property rights. Insist that all contractual agreements are enforceable under Chinese law.
A fair free trade deal with China is a delusion. China’s economy is over four times larger than Britain’s and growing rapidly. Napoleons maxim, God is on the side of the big battalions.
Trading under WTO rules would be a disaster
Craig Jackson (Readers’ View, November 23) says the facts I presented in my earlier letter were “not only pure fantasy, but also completely inaccurate”. So, let me respond to some of the assertions he makes in his letter, starting with his statement that “there is nothing to fear from trading under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.”
First, let’s ask ourselves where do our exports currently go? The answer is: 50.7 per cent go to the EU and its overseas territories; 12 per cent to countries with whom the EU currently has trade deals, 8.4 per cent to countries with whom the EU is currently negotiating; 15.2 per cent to the USA; 6.8 per cent to China and Hong Kong; and 6.9 per cent to everywhere else. So, if we leave the EU with no deal, up to 71.1 per cent of our overseas trade will be adversely affected.
Most seriously affected, of course, will be our exports to the EU single market and customs union, where, in particular, we will lose the benefits of cross-border ‘financial passporting’ and face the reimposition of non-tariff barriers that membership of the single market currently avoids..
So, let’s do some simple maths, focusing initially on the 50.7 per cent of exports that go to the EU and its overseas territories, of which 20 per cent are for goods and 80 per cent for services. As the terms of trade we currently enjoy with the EU are so favourable, estimates suggest we could lose up to 50 per cent of our trade in goods and up to 60 per cent of our trade in services with the EU if we revert to trading under WTO rules. This means we could lose up to 33.1 per cent of our total exports, plus most of the huge inward investment from firms around the world who currently choose to use the UK as a base for exporting to the EU. Also, if we go down the ‘no deal’ route, we’ll need to agree WTO ‘schedules’, for both goods and services, with the other 164 members of the WTO, of which any and all can object to any number of issues at any time.
Even if we’re legally allowed to start negotiations by assuming the WTO schedules we currently enjoy as a member of the EU still apply, we’ll need to work out which bits of these existing schedules relate to us, and which bits relate to the rest of the EU. So, this means ‘quota bargaining’ with the rest of the world.
And, as the EU will have to renegotiate all of its WTO schedules too, it is bound to be at the front of the queue for dispute resolution, with us at the back, simply because their economy will be roughly 10 times the size of ours.
Come on Leave voters, recognise reality, rise up and demand that the tens of billions of pounds now being wasting on Brexit are spent instead on the NHS and fixing other fundamental problems, like our national housing crisis and the North-South divide. This alternative approach would certainly get my vote.
Our highest annual sum yet achieved
May I express my grateful thanks to all customers and visitors to Morrisons Supermarket in Pinchbeck during the recent Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. Thanks to the generosity of Morrisons customers we collected the very gratifying sum of £14,143.77 during the appeal period - the highest annual sum yet achieved. Overall in the villages of Pinchbeck and West Pinchbeck our current total at the time of writing is £16,149.10.
Pinchbeck Royal British Legion Treasurer and Poppy Appeal Organiser
Thought For THe Week
Advent heightens our awareness of the passing of time. Darkness falls earlier each day. Children count off the numbered windows in Advent Calendars. Shoppers count down the number of shopping-days before Christmas. Letters from old friends convey both sad news and happy success. Familiar decorations evoke memories of Christmas past.
In all this, the words of a Psalm encourage us to ‘number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom’ (Psalm 90:12).
Advent challenges us to consider how to make the most of our time. Beyond the Advent Calendar, life presents us with ‘windows of opportunity’.
Our words and actions can make a positive difference. Often, however, resolve lapses. Jesus spoke of responding to those in need: “I tell you, whenever you did this for the least of my brethren, you did it for me” (Matthew 25:40). He also observed that the light of kindness can illuminate the lives of others (Matthew 5:14). Our days are numbered. We can’t make time. But in Advent we can do our best to make each day count!
Rev Alan Barker
South Holland Methodist Circuit