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UK would be so much better off without EU tariffs of 20%

(85 Posts)
lljkk Tue 17-Oct-17 21:54:47

On food, clothing & footwear, says the co-chairman of Leave means Leave (Radio 5 live tonight, 6:20pm). By going to WTO rules on 1 April 2019 (John Longworth continued). He said 20% off b/c no external tariffs that EU imposes on food, clothing, footwear.

So, maybe the Leavers can explain to me ... Won't that make British-grown food suddenly 20% more expensive than imports? How exactly will a flood of cheap imported food help British farmers stay financially viable?

(I presume there is too little British manufactured clothing & footwear to worry about their impacts, at least.)

I would like to understand "WTO rules" much better, too. I got impression from MN that there is no such thing as "WTO rules". "WTO rules" for each member state have to be negotiated painfully and it can take decades , and can only be agreed with consent of all other WTO members (is that because negotiating with EU27 is sissy work, so instead Leavers want to try to charm 100+ world countries at once?).

Also, once we are in WTO, UK must agree to WTO arbitration. Why was European court of justice too remote a court that didn't decide enough in UK favour but WTO arbitration is acceptable and will make fairer decisions... can someone explain?

Tamatoa Sat 21-Oct-17 17:59:05

Or, we help the third world by buying their produce??

Cailleach1 Sat 21-Oct-17 18:42:33

"Or, we help the third world by buying their produce??"

Wonderful. Brexit was in part a British act of charity for the third world. Who knew? You're right. It will be much cheaper to import their produce. I don't know about the transport costs. Great addition to the carbon footprint. Cheap labour, less regulation on chemicals and additives. More incentive for larger companies to use land for cash crops for export, rather than for domestic consumption. Of course, this would have to be applied across the board if there is no trade agreement. It would be a good and well deserved slap in the pants for British farmers and manufacturers. Those buggers who pay minimum wages, tax, vat in this country. Who have to adhere to safe standards. Maybe some of them voted for this anyway.

Of course, services aren't included under WTO. So maybe it may not be relatively cheap given time, if things don't go swimmingly. But a good optimistic and cheerful outlook will make up for any shortfall.

Corcory Sun 22-Oct-17 19:57:52

Cailleach, One of the reasons I voted leave was the protectionist way that the EU single market shuts out trade from so many third world countries. Especially in the near African continent. I feel this has had a real effect on the lack of investment and progress in the likes of agriculture in these countries and has fuels the mass exodus of refuges trying to get into the EU.
I can't say I know farmers who pay little or no tax or VAT, who are these people.

Tamatoa Mon 23-Oct-17 07:55:35

Because sending endless money into corrupt countries does nothing for the people in poverty. I’m pretty sure we can buy responsibly from them. It’s not hard.

lljkk Mon 23-Oct-17 08:33:29

Doesn't that mean that prices of some African foods would become too expensive for Africans? Basically we would distort their export markets a lot. Because UK consumer power would be directly competing for the same goods that Africans need to buy.

Suppose a Kenyan farmer produces 200grams of green beans for 15 kenya schillings (KSh). Sells it to distributor for 18 KSh and it ends up in street markets being sold for 22 Ksh/200grams (or to exporters).

Transport to Europe adds 33 Ksh per 200 grams. Current EU tariffs add 10 Ksh, and supermarket + further inside UK transport costs = 30 ksh, so the final pack is in Sainsbury's for 69pence.

Sainsbury's could probably raise their purchasing price by 10 pence with no impact on UK consumers. But a big impact for Kenyans who can't compete at that price.

Also thinking that Kenya is a really dry country with poor controls on water supplies. Our purchasing power could distort their export markets in ways that lead to undesirable impacts on the environment.

Corcory Mon 23-Oct-17 09:14:15

But lljkk, I don't imagine we would be buying the produce from all the subsistence farmers. I would hope that producers would go and invest in the latest farming techniques in these countries and provide decent jobs and opportunities for local people rather than the continuous cycle of subsistence farming that still prevails at present.

Ttbb Mon 23-Oct-17 09:20:05

But if the food from UK farms is over priced why should we continue growing it? Or maybe it is over priced but but that expensive to grow and farmers will just drop their prices to compete. Most produce is imported anyway so it's not like it's going to have a huge impact on uk farmers, it's not like we have any large banana plantations that will be forced to close.

Ttbb Mon 23-Oct-17 09:28:57

Also your argument against buying from third world countries is a bit silly. When countries with well developed legal systems trade with poorer countries they always introduce or rely on existing trade deals usually with either international courts or importing their own laws to govern the treaty. This legal process effectively dilutes the powers of corrupt courts and governments by making them subservient to more just legal systems. When this kind of legal transfer happens on a large scale it has the power to improve domestic courts and create greater stability encouraging economic growth. Essentially if developing countries don't conform to legal norms they loose trade deals which is a great insentive (much better than a telling off from the UN for example) for ensuring that governments act the way that they should. Free trade (real free trade, not EU you are only free to trade with us free trade) is probably the best way to achieve great stability across the world. But of course you are too busy not getting over brexit to care about world peace.

Corcory Mon 23-Oct-17 09:46:52

Ttbb - the problem we have with produce from the EU is that we import so much that could just as easily be grown here. Same with the fishing industry - We export most of our catch to the EU them import most of what we eat!!
Because we have treated the whole of the EU as one big country for the growing and movement of food and goods we have got used to having things this way. I think we need to rethink our whole supply chain and look at buying British again. Thus we will massively reduce the carbon footprint of much of our food and reduce the amount of traffic across the channel.
There has been a massive change in the growing of fruit and veg. in this country in that the use of massive poly tunnels means that we can produce things like strawberries for 6 months of the year in northern Scotland. We are able to grow all sorts of things this way rather than import them.
I remember going to Iceland over 20 years ago and being amazed at the rows and rows of green houses they had. How they had harnessed their natural resources - thermal heat from the earth and were importing much less than I had imagined.

We won't be trying to grow bananas Ttbb but we will be able to buy them from other places we previously weren't whilst in the EU.

Peregrina Mon 23-Oct-17 09:54:51

We export most of our catch to the EU them import most of what we eat!!

Isn't this because tastes differ - so we export squid, lobsters etc. to the Iberian pennisula where they are especially appreciated whereas we prefer our cod/haddock and chips.

Peregrina Mon 23-Oct-17 09:57:00

How they had harnessed their natural resources - thermal heat from the earth

which is a resource not available to us, not being an actively volcanic island these days.

Corcory Mon 23-Oct-17 10:06:20

Yes Peregrina but we do have other renewables like wind power up here in Scotland or biomass which is used to heat poly tunnels in the north east of Scotland. Also the thermal improvements in Greenhouses have been massive recently which makes the whole thing much more viable in this country.

Peregrina Mon 23-Oct-17 10:11:58

We could to more, but we could have been doing more years ago, so what stopped us?

Corcory Mon 23-Oct-17 10:39:28

The ease of being able to import anything we didn't have, be it Drs. apples or fracked gas Peregrina.

This is the whole problem. We have become complacent.

Peregrina Mon 23-Oct-17 10:44:23

We were almost certainly always complacent. Prior to the EU we relied on Commonwealth citizens to staff the NHS.

Corcory Mon 23-Oct-17 10:54:28

I know. I think a lot of things need to change, the idea that it's more difficult to get into med school here than anywhere else is one of them. We need loads more home grown health professionals, we need to change this problem with nurse bursaries and have a complete overhaul.
I suspect that we import a lot of cod and haddock which could have been caught by our own boats in the past.

Peregrina Mon 23-Oct-17 11:16:26

Yes, Corcory we need all these things. But who exactly has stopped us from e.g. training sufficient numbers of our own health professionals? It hasn't been a lack of suitably qualified candidates coming forward for training.

With our fishing quotas, who decided to allocate most of the UK quota to a handful of Dutch owned boats and not UK based ones?

Corcory Mon 23-Oct-17 13:00:31

I know full well that successive governments have done these things but it doesn't matter to me who is to blame. The system that means that governments only look as far as the next election with so many of their decisions is to blame for many of our woes.
It has always been the case that they will tend to do the easiest thing and not necessarily the best thing long term.
I feel now is the time to re look at things which have given us an over reliance other countries. We should learn to be more self sufficient.

Bearbehind Mon 23-Oct-17 13:04:35

The system that means that governments only look as far as the next election with so many of their decisions is to blame for many of our woes.

But that hasn't changed hmm

If we were serious about being more self sufficient etc we should have started to put the infrastructure in place before commuting to leave the EU.

Bearbehind Mon 23-Oct-17 13:05:02

^^ committing

Corcory Mon 23-Oct-17 13:18:07

So Brexit is a chance to look at these things Bear.

I really can't see the point of your argument Bear - So if we were more serious about becoming self sufficient we should have put it in place before we voted for Brexit. What is the point in harping back to what wasn't done before the vote? Absolutely none. It's a non argument.
How do you know we haven't been looking at becoming more self sufficient in some areas? Like the fruit and veg poly tunnel farmers I mentioned up thread.
We are constantly increasing our renewable energy %. I don't see any reason why we can't change our production to produce many of the things we buy in from the EU at the moment.

Bearbehind Mon 23-Oct-17 13:21:59

You are correct in that there's little point in harping back to what wasn't done before however it was more than a little reckless to send us of the Brexit cliff hoping it results in more self sufficiency.

It's certainly not going to happen in the short term, if ever.

I haven't seen any serious indication that alternative plans are in place; as I've said repeatedly elsewhere, Leavers 'plans' seem to still rely on nothing changing wrt trade so there's no need.

Corcory Mon 23-Oct-17 13:41:34

Many of the things I am suggesting are to do with supply and demand and when an industry sees a decent opportunity they will feel it is worth pursuing.

The government has to change things with regard to training and employment in areas like health care. They have announced a small increase in the amount of Drs being trained.

lljkk Mon 23-Oct-17 15:10:00

Food in Iceland is very expensive.
UK will have to keep exporting most of its fisheries to other EU countries, under agreements that were made in the 1960s (and those countries suspended as part of us joining EC).
UK NHS will go back to recruiting folk from Commonwealth & other high HealthProf-producing countries (eg., Phillipines). So much for the Brexit anti-foreigner vote.

"I would hope that producers would go and invest in the latest farming techniques in these countries "

I reckon that the Chinese will invest to make farming more productive in these capital-scarce countries. The profits will go back to Chinese and other international investors.

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