“A year on from the Brexit trade deal, the doom-mongers got it so wrong” Telegraph

“The ports would be plunged into chaos. Stranded lorries would turn Kent into a giant car park. The supermarkets would run out of food, the factories would run out of parts, and our export industries would be blown apart. 

Only a year ago this week, the economy was on a knife edge as we waited to see if a trade deal with the European Union could be agreed at the last moment, and the dreaded cliff-edge avoided. Chaos was looming as the clock ticked relentlessly closer to midnight. 

As we know, a deal was finally agreed, on Christmas Eve to be precise. Twelve months on, how is that working out? 

In fact, it turns out to have been a lot of fuss about not very much. 

The shape of the UK’s trading relationship with the EU has already started to emerge. 

We sell, and buy, far less from the rest of Europe than we did as a member, and some industries have suffered significantly from that; the balance of payments is steadily improving; critical industries such as financial and legal services are holding up well; and the UK is trading more with the world outside Europe. 

There have been winners and losers, as you would expect, but average it out, and for all the hullabaloo the trade deal didn’t make much difference to anything.

It was certainly a tense run-up to Christmas. After four years of bitter and divisive negotiations, and with the transition period that kept us effectively in the EU’s trading bloc for a year after we left about to expire, the UK looked poised to tumble out without a deal. ” Telegraph

Comment: Still waiting for a trade deal with the US. pl

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/12/21/year-brexit-trade-deal-doom-mongers-got-wrong/

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6 Responses to “A year on from the Brexit trade deal, the doom-mongers got it so wrong” Telegraph

  1. JohninMK says:

    As a 75 year old retiree living in central England buying the kinds of items that such people do, I have to admit that I have not noticed much difference over the past 11 months in the source of what I am buying in the shops.

    The changes that I have noticed tended to be in fresh food items that come from locations where aircraft, or their holds, have been able to fly from given the Covid induced chaos in the airline business over that period.

    It does seem that sense, or more likely the commercial interests involved in Brexit, has prevailed.

  2. JohninMK says:

    All of us in Europe, as opposed to just the EU, are now caught up in a market where that sense has not prevailed, energy availability this as opposed to earlier years.

    One of the side effects of the impact of Omicron is that the attention of almost all politicians in Europe has been captured by it. It has created a red herring/smokescreen such that the combined impact of the near arrival of the cold of winter and the lack of natgas on order will come like an avenging angel out of leftfield. It is now highly likely that hypothermia is going to kill many, many more than Covid this winter and our politicians have either been asleep on the job or are willfully ignoring the issue.

    The roots of the problem lie back in 2014 when the EU, under the ‘guidance’ of the commodity/energy traders, seem to have become overly jealous of the money Gazprom was making from natgas without handing the EU their fair share. Up till then price/quantity was set by long term (some were decades) contracts, which gave both sides the ability to plan ahead. But led by the UK/Qatar LNG and UK electricity deals yielding profits to said traders the EU started forcing its countries to renegotiate its contracts onto the spot market. It has to be said that few noticed the change, apart from a gradual increase in user prices, over the next few years. Then came the 2020/21 winter!

    Colder than normal, not only was underground storage depleted, but (against EU rules) Nordstream1 was pumped at 110% of capacity at times to keep up with demand. It was also longer than normal delaying to May/June refilling of storage (at cheap summer prices). Then for some came financial disaster, the market decided that demand would be good during the summer so the price was held high, whilst those needing the gas held off until the price was sure to drop, it didn’t by which time it was too late. Currently gas in store levels are about the level of the middle of January in a normal year, they have lost a month of demand.

    The irony is that whilst spot prices are perfect for LNG in the sense that you fill a tanker and then sell it to the highest bidder, wherever they are, pipeline gas can only go to one place so no similar competitive bidding. They are not the same product but they are in the same market, nice one guys.

    Meanwhile the Russians have been watching from the sidelines aghast at what is going on, powerless to change the market forces that had been unleashed, aware that any blame would be heaped on them and not inclined, given NS2, to help beyond delivering every puff of gas ordered at those inflated, thank you very much, prices.

    I have to mention that the Hungarians (a canny lot) spotted what was happening and much to the anger of Brussels (again) they went back to their old type contract as of the start of October so now paying $250 not $1750 spot for 1000cuM.

    So what does Brussels do now? Accept that they gambled with taxpayers money and lost and sort a deal with the Russians, who have plenty of gas and pipelines to deliver it? Or try to deflect the blame heading their way onto the Russians somehow? I think we all here have an idea on that!

    To that end, whilst we might have a pretty low opinion of EU politicians, there are some top grade strategists in the organisation. I should therefore perhaps note that since the summer there has been an increasing drumbeat concentrated on Ukraine and the Donbas. From time immemorial war has been used to hide all kings of skulduggery and in this situation there are other issues that could benefit fro evaporation.

  3. RZ says:

    Britain could have fought to be a leader in the EU but instead it was a continual irritant.
    Britain as leaders in Europe would have the backing of an economic block closely matched to the US in size.
    Britain is now a small economy afloat in some increasingly hostile offshore weather.

    • English Outsider says:

      RINO newspaper selling us a RINO Brexit, Colonel. Still, better a fake Brexit that none. It’ll do for a start.

  4. LondonBob says:

    The forecasts of doom have been proven false. That said the political class remain enamoured of the EU and what is really required is a political elite in power who will actually push back against EU empire building, the current neocon clique, who hijacked Brexit to enthrone themselves, have been found lacking, and their plunging poll ratings show the general public know it.

    France is flooding immigrants across the channel and the clowns send military assistance to Poland for their borders, Northern Ireland continues to have been legally hived off by the EU yet they prattle about the Ukraine. The EU is doing their best to do us on trade, we should be looking for allies across Europe to undermine them, great European nations like Switzerland and Russia remain outside whilst powerful Eurosceptic forces should be cultivated within. Afraid my dream of a isolationist Swiss style independent Britain is a fair distance off still.

    • English Outsider says:

      London Bob – maybe not “Swiss style”. The Swiss are under great pressure from the EU and it’s likely they’re going to have to give in. From what I have read on the subject it’s the same problem we have in the UK. The elites can’t get enough of the EU. The rest of us – we’re not all of us so keen.

      Similar in Norway. Some there are dissatisfied with their current arrangements with the EU. Even EEA/EFTA leaves to the EU too much scope for political interference. But there again, it’s the elites that want to get closer to the EU and the rest more distant.

      Now Johnson’s fixed up his fake Brexit that’s still the problem we have. The Great and the Good of the UK still yearn for Brussels. Most of the rest don’t. So we’re still seeing “Customs Unions” being floated by the politicos, and EEA/EFTA lurking in the background. Brexit to HMG means “how much can we give in to Brussels without the electorate noticing?”

      And the terms of the conflict have changed. It was so much simpler in the old days whenever there was a danger of being absorbed by an outside power. They – whoever the “they” was – revved up their tanks. We revved up ours. Got the Americans on side. And foreign domination was avoided.

      The whole thing plainly visible to all of us in the general public. We knew where we were

      Now the fighting’s all done by trade agreements. Those agreements linked to LPF conditions that amount to direct political interference.

      Linked to “Maintenance of the Rule of Law”. Sounds great until, as the Poles are now doing, you ask “Whose Law?”. Then it turns out to be Prog Law that the politicians’d never get past their own electorates. So they slip it past via Brussels.

      To “harmonisation of standards”. Frees up trade, they insist. Too true. Frees up trade for the corporations that can afford to pay a fortune for lobbyists in Brussels.

      That’s their substitute for tanks. And since not one in a thousand of us have time to look into all the fiddly details, that substitute slowly and surely conquers and far more easily. Stealth tanks, we could call them, and manned by our own elites as much as by Brussels.

      And the old standby – “Get the Americans on side” – isn’t there any more. Sleepy Joe has to play the “Oi’m Oirish” card to keep his Noraid voters on side. Blinken regards Brexit as a “Train Crash” and is pro-EU to the hilt.

      And for HMG, keeping joint defence contracts with the Euros, and “leading” the sometimes reluctant Europeans in the crusade against the Russian foe, weighs far more than maintaining the fake Brexit they stitched us up with.

      These are not good times for Westphalia, not if one lives in the UK.

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