4

IIUC, the Chequers agreement proposes that a post-Brexit UK continues with regulatory alignment for goods with the EU.

Is it true to say that this means the UK will then be unable to permit the import of goods that do not meet EU regulations?

If so, might this impact the UK’s ability to negotiate favourable terms of trade with other countries who wish to export to the UK?

  • 1
    Yes, under the Chequers plan the UK would not be able to import or produce goods that do not meet EU regulations. Otherwise it would become impossible for an EU regulated company to be competitive in a non-EU regulated UK, thus breaking the single market. – armatita Oct 29 '18 at 14:29
  • Presumably you intend the capitalisation “single market” to delineate the UK’s then non-membership of the EU Single Market? – 52d6c6af Oct 29 '18 at 14:36
  • No. I mean the EU Single Market. The UK being a member or not is another question. From the point of view of the remaining 27 members the UK is to become a third party. Sooner or later they will start acting as such. In fact one can imagine what exactly has happened in Salzburg when Theresa May stated that the "Chequers way" was the only way. – armatita Oct 29 '18 at 15:41
5

My understanding of the Chequers proposal agrees with yours, that it maintained the customs union.

Is it true to say that this means the UK will then be unable to permit the import of goods that do not meet EU regulations?

Yes, assuming we understand the proposal correctly, that means that the UK will have to enforce EU regulations on all its imports (and its manufacturing).

If so, might this impact the UK’s ability to negotiate favourable terms of trade with other countries who wish to export to the UK?

It will limit the UK's ability to negotiate. In particular, this will keep them from offering a reduction in regulations. In effect, they would have to include Europe in any negotiation of regulations. They could still negotiate tariffs and foreign regulations, but they would have less room to make changes on their side.

|improve this answer|||||
0

Is it true to say that this means the UK will then be unable to permit the import of goods that do not meet EU regulations?

No, that is not true. The Chequers plan was designed to leave the UK with all the freedoms regarding the trade with the UK and the rest of the world while at the same time keeping the UK and the EU in a free trade zone on goods only. The means to achieve this were a common rule-book restricted to rules that enable friction-less transport of goods over the UK-EU border as well as a facilitated customs arrangement, i.e. the UK collecting customs for all goods going into the EU from it (and coming from outside the UK). See sections 1.1 and 1.2 of the white paper.

Within this plan, the UK would have been able to import anything from anywhere, as long as it can make sure somehow that this anything doesn't end up in the EU without complying to EU rules. In practice, this may have proven difficult and it's difficult to estimate how much this would have limited the UK in practice or how much it would have undermined the effectiveness of the EU rules. However, the Chequers plan was definitely not a customs union with the EU.

To make an example: The UK could import chlorinated chicken from the US, under the Chequers plan, if it wanted to. It would then consistently control that this chlorinated chicken does not get transported into the EU or any products made of it (I guess) while at the same time not doing any controls at the UK-EU border directly. The plan did not specify how exactly this would be achieved.

Some relevant quotes from it:

Section 1.1

1 Following the decision of the people of the UK in the referendum, the UK is leaving the EU, and as a result will leave the Single Market and the Customs Union..

3 At the core of the UK’s proposal is the establishment by the UK and the EU of a free trade area for goods.

7 a) establish a new free trade area and maintain a common rulebook for goods, including agri-food, covering only those rules necessary to provide for frictionless trade at the border. ...

7 h) be consistent with the UK’s ambitions as a global trading nation, with its own independent trade policy..

Section 1.2

11 The UK and the EU would maintain a common rulebook for goods including agri -food, with the UK making an upfront choice to commit by treaty to ongoing harmonisation with EU rules on goods, covering only those necessary to provide for frictionless trade at the border.

12 .. the phased introduction of a new Facilitated Customs Arrangement that would remove the need for customs checks and controls between the UK and the EU as if in a combined customs territory, while enabling the UK to control tariffs for its own trade with the rest of the world and ensure businesses pay the right tariff

14 ..the UK would apply the EU’s tariffs and trade policy for goods intended for the EU. The UK would also apply its own tariffs and trade policy for goods intended for consumption in the UK. ..

|improve this answer|||||
  • I’m sorry, this is incorrect. What you are talking about is UK recognition of EU rules, which is quite different to a common rulebook aka regulatory alignment for goods. Under “Chequers” we would maintain a common rulebook for goods, meaning all current and future EU rules are applicable to all goods in the UK, thereby precluding the importing of “chlorinated chicken”, for example (because it breaks those common rules). – 52d6c6af Oct 29 '18 at 13:24
  • 1
    So with chlorinated chicken, we export non-chlorinated chicken to the EU, and so EU chicken regulations must apply to all chicken in the UK (common rulebook). But take something that the UK does not export (I have to guess what such a thing could be - samurai swords?!) - then we can apply our own import rules because no samurai swords cross the UK/EU border. But the export of samurai swords from the UK to the EU might occur at any time (free trade natch), meaning, in effect, EU rules will apply to everything? – 52d6c6af Oct 29 '18 at 14:17
  • 1
    @Ben I understand your interpretation of common rule-book but I do not necessarily share it. Judging from the text of the white paper it does not immediately become clear how far reaching this common rules actually have to be. They are not a single market - the UK wants to leave most of it. Anyway at least the UK government must know what they had in mind. – Trilarion Oct 29 '18 at 14:57
  • 1
    If the default non-bloc nation state situation is one of dictating your own domestic goods regulations and complying with export market regulations then I see no need for a new phrase common rulebook. There is nothing common about the rulebooks of the domestic and foreign markets in this case. In the whitepaper it introduces the term “common rulebook” and adds the caveat “only those rules necessary to provide frictionless trade at the border”. The implication is that the rulebook (ie regulations) applied to goods is common with the EU insofar as is necessary to ensure “frictionless” trade. – 52d6c6af Oct 29 '18 at 15:12
  • 1
    Page 7 of Chequers states “...the UK and the EU should therefore focus on ensuring continued frictionless access at the border to each other’s markets for goods” implying that the status-quo is “frictionless”. The status quo means no regulatory checks at all at the border of UK/EU. Post-Brexit, in the chlorinated chicken example, some checks would be required at the UK/EU border because the UK market would be “contaminated”. This would therefore break the implied definition of “frictionless”. And so the import of chlorinated chicken would be disallowed under Chequers. – 52d6c6af Oct 29 '18 at 15:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .