The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Trump should prove his commitment to free trade with a UK-US Free Trade deal

There are several indicators that the US economy is doing very well at the moment. According to a recent BBC report: "The US economy grew at its fastest pace in nearly four years in the second quarter, expanding at an annualised rate of 4.1%, official figures show. The gains were driven by strong consumer spending and a surge in exports" [1] In add...
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Medical provisions post-Brexit

  A report by Victoria Hewson, Senior Counsel of the IEA's International Trade and Competition Unit There are three main factors behind the fears in relation to medical provisions post-Brexit. Here we examine what the potential problems are and the available solutions: 1. New tariffs would raise prices It has been suggested that the prices of ...
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Electronic Customs Procedures and Brexit

Theresa May's dismissal of Boris Johnson's suggestion that technology could allow customs checks without physical infrastructure (to solve the Irish border issue) is perverse. Her claim that such systems do not yet exist is not true and one must query if Number 10 talks to anyone other than the Treasury. The UK was a pioneer of electronic clearance...
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Solving the Irish border question

Like a broken clock, remainers are occasionally right. One example of this is the Irish border question which many leavers have ignored or dismissed for too long. While we don't believe this issue is as impossible to solve as remainers insist, it does require an appropriate amount of attention. So far, different proposals have been suggested to avo...
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Robert Oulds discusses Airbus and BMW's Brexit warnings, the economy and whether or not there should be another EU referendum

On the second anniversary of the successful Leave vote, Robert Oulds condemns Airbus, in receipt of £16 billion from the EU, and BMW, for choosing this day to advise the UK to stay in the single market and customs union. While the eurozone lurches from crisis to crisis, the UK has its highest rate of employment in history and we should look forward...
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Brexit: Same goals; different paths - Managing divergence

On the 5th of December 2017 the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis MP (speaking in a House of Commons debate) said: "She [The Prime Minister] said that there are areas in which we want to achieve the same outcomes, but by different regulatory methods. We want to maintain safety, food standards, animal welfare and employme...
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Tariffs, tariffs, tariffs

​We are now in a trade war. It is the unelected EU and Communist Party controlled China on one side and the United States of America on the other. Let us remember that the US charges 2.6% tariffs of imports into the USA. The EU by contrast, charges a 10% tariff on goods coming from the USA. No wonder and it is to no surprise that President Donald T...
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“Global Britain” - How industry is part of this bright future

"I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." So said Ronald Reagan during the 1984 presidential debates when asked if, at 73, he was too old to be President. We might make the following quip about our country, where once flag followed trade, trade now follo...
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Bordering on Madness

The thing that first drew me to being opposed to our membership of the EU in 1991 was the realisation my elected Government was not in control of our country, that authority had passed to an offshore, unelected and unaccountable body.  My awakening came through a letter written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the terrible recession o...
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Rest Assured: There Will Be a Brexit Trade Agreement

​Bruges Group director Robert Oulds assured the possibility of a Brexit trade agreement in an interview with Jeremy Naylor on IG.com.  It was one of the many issues discussed during last Friday's broadcast. Topics ranged from the cost of other trade agreements, need for deregulation, lower taxes, and passporting rights.  The term "hard Br...
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No Transition is Better than a Bad Transition

No Transition is Better than a Bad Transition
In my last blog post, I made my own personal views on transition clear and I also stated what the government had said that their views on transition were. To summarise, I personally believe that, if a free trade agreement (FTA) between the UK and the EU is agreed by midnight on 29 th March 2019 and, if a subsequent transitional arrangement is deeme...
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Signalling a post-Brexit industrial strategy

Supporting Bombardier - Putting employment in Britain at the heart of economic policy.

Robert Oulds

25th September 2017

We are determined that Brexit, if when it eventually happens in earnest, delivers the change we need. One of these new approaches can be in defending British industry, along with its jobs and innovation from unfair actions. But why wait for Brexit? It can begin now!

 

Bombardier, a major employer in Britain, a new entrant in the plane market, is being threatened by a trade complaint brought by Boeing designed to keep it out of the US market.[i] Theresa May’s government must show that a post-Brexit Britain will use its new-found independence to stand up for UK jobs. A policy area where we would not have to live with pan-EU rules any more. British taxpayers give Boeing hundreds of millions of pounds in defence deals, while at the same time they’re trying to close British factories. That’s not the action of a trusted partner for this country.

 

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Financial Services and Brexit

​Project Fear scaremongered more about financial services than anything else during the EU referendum campaign and this scaremongering has unfortunately continued after the Brexit vote. Remoaners and soft Brexiteers (those who want us to remain members of the European single market after Brexit) now tell us that the reason why there was not an imme...
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Simplifying Brexit: Maintaining third-party trade deals after Brexit

Memorandums of Understanding, or exchange of notes/letters, can form a key part of the necessary transitional arrangements as the UK moves from being an EU member state to an independent nation.

15th March 2017
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In our report What it will look like: How leaving the EU and the Single Market can be made to work for Britain[1] we explained that it should be relatively easy for the UK to maintain interim tariff-free trade with the countries who have signed deals with the EU, after Brexit.

 

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Another nail in the coffin of the Single Market

Last month, an event occurred which got little fanfare, but is likely to have a significant effect on the future of the UK, especially after Brexit. What happened was that the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement has now entered into force.

10th March 2017

The Single Market

Lord Lamont, the former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer wrote in The Telegraph:

‘The single market is open to all advanced economies, in exchange for paying a relatively modest tariff of 3 to 4 per cent, something that evidently does not stop non-EU countries from selling within it.

‘Every developed country has access to the single market. The EU has a relatively low external tariff with the exception of certain goods such as agriculture.’[i]

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Recent Comments
Robert Oulds
Thank you for your comment. That was covered first in the Bruges Group paper What it will look Like: https://www.brugesgroup.com/m... Read More
Thursday, 16 March 2017 23:31
Robert Oulds
Earlier we also covered those points here: http://www.brugesgroup.com/blog/trade-issues-which-must-be-solved-by-david-davis-brexit... Read More
Monday, 20 March 2017 10:09
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What it will look like: How leaving the EU and the Single Market can be made to work for Britain

The PM, Theresa May, must focus on eliminating tariffs and clearing the EU's burdensome barriers to trade

17th January 2017

The Bruges Group report What it Will Look Like: How leaving the EU and the Single Market can be made to work for Britain details the potential challenges the UK faces when it leaves the EU. The report also explains how these problems can be addressed by Her Majesty's Government, ahead of Theresa May's planned Brexit speech on Tuesday 17th January 2017.

Only by knowing the potential pitfalls can the Prime Minister hope to mitigate and eliminate the EU’s burdensome trade rules and bureaucracy. The UK can then take advantage of the global opportunities that await us.

Drawing upon decades of research and analysis, this report clearly explains how:

There is no such thing as a truly 'Hard Brexit' - but there are significant obstacles.A UK-EU trade agreement, focused on tariff reduction and clearing customs, could take just 18 months to complete.The UK's bargaining position is stronger than many commentators believe.

This report deals with the top ten issues of withdrawal from the EU. It explains that specific, easily reached agreements on the mechanics of trade in both goods and services will not only resolve any problems that may arise when exporting to the EU but such arrangements will also protect and enhance our trade with the EU.

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MoUs – the key to a smooth Brexit?

Whichever form Brexit eventually takes, whether ‘hard’ or ‘soft’; most parties would like the transition to be as painless and smooth as possible. To ensure that the Brexit process runs seamlessly, the UK and the EEA countries could agree a time-limited transition deal as a temporary ‘stepping stone’ to the final outcome.

19th December 2016

The deal need not be an official treaty but could take the form of what is called a Memorandum of understanding or MoU.

As the UK government website states:

“An MoU records international "commitments", but in a form and with wording which expresses an intention that it is not to be binding as a matter of international law. An MoU is used where it is considered preferable to avoid the formalities of a treaty – for example, where there are detailed provisions which change frequently or the matters dealt with are essentially of a technical or administrative character; in matters of defence or technology where there is a need for such documents to be classified; or where a treaty requires subsidiary documents to fill out the details. Like a treaty, an MoU can have a variety of names and can also be either in the form of an exchange of notes or a single document. However, the formalities which surround treatymaking do not apply to it and it is not usually published. Confusingly some treaties are called memoranda of understanding. Although an MoU is not legally binding it should be no less carefully drafted than if it were a treaty, given that it is always the intention to perform all HMG's commitments, whether legally binding or not.”[1]

An MoU is an established device In public international law; less official that a treaty but more than a gentleman’s agreement. MoU’s can take various forms and can serve wildly different purposes. They can be short and cover one specific issue or be lengthy, covering a range of topics.

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Robert Oulds
Thank for your comment. Very helpful. If he EU decides that the withdrawal agreement needs to have the status of an Association Ag... Read More
Tuesday, 03 January 2017 20:00
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The trade issues which must be solved by David Davis’ Brexit Department

Any withdrawal agreement must look at these issues and find practical solutions to make sure that goods enter the EU as seamlessly as possible.

5th December 2016
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Brexit negotiations must aim to prevent the complexities of trade slowing the free flow of goods after Britain leaves the EU. Any withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK, must look at these complexities and find practical solutions to make sure that trade enters the EU as seamlessly as possible.

 

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