BrexitCentral: Forget the arguments about customs arrangements: just remember why we wanted out of the EU in the first place

We are living through yet another drama of our stop-and-go Brexit negotiations. The latest conundrum dreamt up by Remainers and Brussels to keep the UK in the fold is the Northern Ireland and customs arrangement problem.

The issue is more political – politicised – than technical.  International customs arrangements have evolved considerably over time to facilitate trade among countries outside customs unions. The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, a multilateral agreement in effect since February 2017, points in the direction of international customs cooperation and the ever increasing use of electronic systems.

French Customs boasts that in the framework of their “Dédouanez en France” initiative launched in 2015, imports enter France in less than four minutes and SMEs get special attention with their customs procedures. Non-EU member Switzerland and the EU maintain a seamless customs procedure and flow of goods. It is hard to understand why the same issue between the UK and the EU is becoming a seemingly insurmountable problem that threatens the essence of Brexit.

The danger is that, lost in the details of customs procedures and loaded political arguments, we are losing sight of the wood for the trees and perhaps this is the goal: to make us forget the real issues and why the majority of the British public voted for leaving.

Remainers seem to believe that some sort of membership – whatever we call it – of the EU is paramount to Britain’s economic well-being. But what is this EU they are insisting Britain should stay in? What is its future?

Brexit is most often discussed in terms of its economic impact.  Are we better off in or out, is trade going to suffer or prosper outside the EU?

To read Andrea Hossó’s piece for BrexitCentral in full, click here.

sign up to our Newsletter