1. A thread on #trade and aid.

One of the first tangible benefits of #Brexit I've seen is the emerging reform of @DFID_UK where it is becoming more of an arm of trade policy than a state owned humanitarian NGO. I would like that to go much further and rethink trade.
2. I do not think we should be wasting too much effort on free trade deals largely because they are of questionable value and encourage inefficient value chains. Any work on tariffs should really be reserved for multilateral activity.
3. Instead we need DfID as the spearhead of our trade policy. There is no reason why we cannot pursue humanitarian goals and enhance our trade while we are at it. For a start we can do a lot with medicines and pharmacy products.
4. Exports of pharmacy products have more than tripled over the past 15 years, with most of these gains obtained from extra-EU transactions. This is also the third largest industry in the UK, contributing 10 per cent of the country's GDP.
5. This is undermined by a massive global trade in counterfeit medicines and adulterated products. A recent World Customs Organisation raid netted some 113 million illicit and potentially dangerous medicines, with a total estimated value of €52 million.
6. Of the 243 maritime containers inspected, 150 contained illicit or counterfeit products. So there's a need for greater scrutiny of this type of fraud - which means firstly we need to assist developing countries with their customs controls. We're acquiring some expertise there.
7. We also need to look at the proliferation of standards and their harmonisation, while investing more in global surveillance networks. If you want an active trade policy then you have to spend some serious money.
8. The obvious benefit of this is that genuine medicines get to where they need to go instead of the poison currently in circulation. Works toward our development goals while improving the health of developing nations.
9. But more to the point, it increases the profitability of existing value chains on sectors most important to the UK. Especially if we're daft enough to leave the single market. We could well lose a lot of our pharmaceutical manufacturers unless we give them good reason to stay.
10. Improving the efficiency and security of supply chains is worth substantially more to the UK than tinkering with tariffs and in terms of improving distribution networks there is a lot to be done.
11. We could quite easily confine the activities of DfID to just a handful of pursuits and it will still enhance UK trade. As part of the development remit would be well advised to invest in the @UNECE road Safety Trust Fund to help reduce traffic fatalities around the world.
12. Mundane as that sounds it has massive potential because it's a broad area of concern. Everything from child seats to traffic cones, road infrastructure and safety training services. Things the UK excels at.
13. We've heard a lot about growth in the far east and what we are seeing, in Malaysia especially, is a space race to improve standards of civic governance - driving tests, MOTs, instructor qualification, pedestrian road safety awareness, road maintenance, parking controls.
14. This are all things we take for granted but the road fatalities, very often 100% preventable continue to plague India and the far east. That right there is a market in goods and services - and a market for exporting UK governance ideas.
15. What we are starting to see, with a growing middle class and a wealthier consumer base is demands for better food safety, better road safety, trustworthy medicines and good governance.
16. These are all development goals shared by most of the global forums where we see UNECE, ISO and others coming together to make that a reality. There is no reason why DfID should not be an active player - especially since DfID is respected globally.
17. Some would rather we didn't spend on foreign aid, but it is an essential component of any trade policy and if we can meld our trade and development objectives then we kill two birds with one stone.
18. To do this we need to shift the debate beyond the dismal "free trade" dogma of Tories and the insular technocratic nonsense of trade wonks who prattle on about FTAs. FTAs are better suited to the EU approach but we need to do things differently.
19. The UK probably won't bother with something as dumb as a customs union agreement but we can be sure there will be a number of obligations and technical restrains that prevent us meddling with tariffs. We therefore need better strategies to make trade more profitable.
20. Meanwhile we can use our right of initiative in the global system to work on multilateral solutions for medicines. Ideally a global system of approvals, which for now may be pie in the sky but we can chip away at it sector by sector.
21. Leaving the single market will be a costly mistake and one which will badly dent our trade, but even then the UK is not a down and out. Plenty of mid-ranking powers make valuable contributions. Japan, Israel and Norway worth examining. There is life after Brexit.

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More from @PeteNorth303

Oct 5, 2018
1. Today in #Brexit tedium: You all saw the Barnier tweet reiterating that a Canada+++ is available and has been from the beginning. The ultra brexiters have taken that to mean an FTA plus whatever fiction they want tacked on to it.
2. They are dishonestly claiming this as a vindication of their position, conveniently ignoring that the EU will not agree to begin talks on any such agreement unless the UK signs up to an NI backstop. The EU is entirely consistent on this.
3. The ultas claim that a Canada+++ deal where they get to define what the plusses mean means that we don't need a backstop, Two problems here. The EU won;t agree to it and secondly, the details of their proposal has the same basic flaw as Chequers which the EU already declined.
Read 20 tweets
Oct 3, 2018
1. It is not conspiratorial to say that both Johnson and Rees-Mogg are front men for a very narrow set of interests. they are relying entirely on the IEA think tank set for ideas - which sees #Brexit only in terms of how their financial backers can advance their interests.
2. I have never heard JRM or Johnson give a detailed and convincing anti-EU speech. They know how to drop in buzzwords and eurosceptic terminology but they have stolen the clothes of anti-EU scholars who used to make up the eurosceptic movement.
3. Very skilfully they have cleaved euroscepticism away from Ukip which has freed itself to concentrating on grunting about Muslims. Most of the founders have either gravitated to the Tory fringes or bowed out completely.
Read 20 tweets
Oct 3, 2018
1. All the solutions to the various technical #Brexit concerns are to an extent sub-optimal, complicated and require a degree of compromise. Tories, though, would rather queue up round the block to be told life is simpler than it is.

2. Anyone can blether about sovereignty and self-determination but in the real world, regulation and rules are the WD40 of trade and without agreed norms trade simply doesn't happen. All trade agreements to one extend or other place constraints on sovereignty.
3. Brexit requires of us that we seek a balance between isolationism and subordination but since the EU is the regional and global regulatory superpower in this equation, to a larger extent it will call the shots. This is a simple fact of life. They are bigger than us.
Read 14 tweets
Oct 2, 2018
1. For the benefit of the hard of thinking and for possibly the billionth time, there is only ONE way to ensure the UK maintains its current trade with the EU and that is by joining Efta and retaining the EEA agreement. (#Brexit thread)
2.There are means to ensure the bare minimum essentials continue but the EU is a major market actually on our doorstep so there is no way we should even be considering options that only maintain the bare minimum. The UK as a matter of fact needs a fully comprehensive relationship
3. As pointed out by the European Commission, a customs union covers only those functions listed in red and is not EVEN required to address those issues. The majority of border concerns are regulatory issues covered by the EEA.
Read 10 tweets
Oct 2, 2018
1. So if reports are correct it looks like Mrs May is going to go with a customs union as her next move along with those rules necessary to keep the trucks rolling. No doubt this is going to upset the #Brexit Taliban. (thread)
2. As ever she's got it ass backwards where the the differences then between NI and mainland will be more profound than if we'd stayed in the EEA and ditched the customs union. This is what happens when you equate customs controls with customs unions.
3. So the plan, if we can call it a plan is a Turkey Plus sort of arrangement - or maybe the Jersey Option. Whatever ti is, it certainly is turkey - but it's bordering on workable which is closer than we've been before. It will probably fall over on the details.
Read 19 tweets
Sep 29, 2018
1. Time of a thread on this Toryboy dribble. The problem with a #Brexit FTA+++ ("with maximum recognition") is that the EU does not do mutual recognition where it has already has harmonised rules. it is never going to agree to an equivalence system. ...
2. Put simply if we go for an FTA+++ then the EU gets to decide the terms of those plusses. It can can look at maximum facilitation for revenue issues in relation to VAT and tariffs and technology can help but that pertains only to the customs union. The bits in red.
3. As you can see it doesn't even begin to address the issue of regulatory controls and though the EU does do MRAs on conformity assessment, they are never universal and only if there are exactly matched standards. The belief we can unilateral diverge is a fantasy.
Read 18 tweets

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