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Fisheries and Brexit

by Politicker

The UK Government has announced it is withdrawing the UK from the 1964 London Convention on Fisheries in order to take control of its fishing policy and brings into focus issues surrounding Brexit and the Common Fisheries Policy.

The 1964 London Convention was signed by 13 European countries in order to establish and define a fisheries regime for their coastal waters and it allows vessels from other countries to fish in British waters if they had habitually fished in that same region between 1 January 1953 and 31 December 1962.

The Convention on Fisheries requires Member States to provide two years’ notice if they wish to withdraw and is one of the reasons why it is happening now.

The EU currently governs fisheries policy in the UK with the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which will continue to apply in the UK until the UK has legally ceased to be a member. After that, access to fishing grounds will be determined by international law rather than EU law and the UK will have sovereign control over the resources in its waters.

The future relationship regarding fisheries policy is subject to current and future negotiations between the UK and the EU, however, the EU has stated that

The agreement on a future relationship between the Union and the United Kingdom as such can only be concluded once the United Kingdom has become a third country

so it is unclear how negotiations over a future fisheries policy can be achieved prior to the UK leaving the EU.

The EU recently published an extensive document (164 pages) following a Workshop on “Common Fisheries Policy and BREXIT” of 21th June 2017, organised by the Committee on Fisheries (COMPECH) and the Policy Department B (PECH Research) of the European Parliament.
It examines the Common Fisheries Policy and the implications of Brexit in three parts

  • Legal framework for governance
  • Trade and economic related issues
  • Resources and fisheries

This document was produced on behalf of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries. It provides an economic analysis of the expected consequences of Brexit and examines possible future EU-UK agreements on fisheries issues. The document covers a number of topics and shows figures detailing the amount of fishing performed by EU countries in UK waters, trade in products between the UK and EU and vice versa, possible tariffs on UK imports of fish and fish products from the EU and exports of UK fish and products to the EU etc.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2017/601981/IPOL_STU(2017)601981_EN.pdf

The Commons Library issued a briefing paper Brexit: What next for UK fisheries?
http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7669

A copy of the 1964 London Convention on Fisheries can be found on the Treaties website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at

http://treaties.fco.gov.uk/treaties/treatyrecord.htm?tid=2459

or the treaty document at
https://www.dfa.ie/media/dfa/alldfawebsitemedia/treatyseries/uploads/documents/treaties/docs/196601.pdf

EU Trade Barriers

by Politicker

A report from the European Commission to the European Parliament and EU Council was recently published (23 June 2017) by Cecilia Malmström the EU Commissioner for Trade. The report, Trade and Investment Barriers 1 January 2016 – 31 December 2016 analyses trade and investment barriers reported by business and Member States to the Commission through the Market Access Partnership (“MAP”) program.

http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2017/june/tradoc_155642.pdf

36 new Trade Barriers were recorded in 2016 bringing the total number registered to 372

Opening comments in the report mention how jobs in the EU depend on exports and that trade is vital to the prosperity of citizens in the EU.

Other quotes include:

…The success of the EU, therefore, relies on free and fair trade.

…With protectionist tendencies on the rise over the world, it is more important than ever to pursue an ambitious agenda for a progressive trade policy

…In the year to come, the EU will work to keep the global economy open for trade.

I find it interesting to note that, to date, the EU has shown little interest in having (free) access to the UK market and appear willing to introduce yet more barriers to EU Trade as a consequence of Brexit.

The UK is a member of the G20, an international group of 19 countries together with the EU, representing major world economies and accounting for 80% of world trade.

How big is the UK economy ?

There is some debate about where the UK economy sits in relation to other countries.

The size of a countries economy is measured in GDP, the total value of goods and services produced in a country, which was £1,940 billion for the UK in 2016. When converted to $US, as a straightforward currency conversion, this equates to $2,629 billion placing the UK as the 5th highest economy behind the USA, China, Japan and Germany.

However, another method for converting local currency to $US is to use purchasing power parity

Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)
A theory which relates changes in the nominal exchange rate between two countries currencies to changes in the countries’ price levels. The purchasing power parity theory predicts that an increase in a currency’s domestic purchasing power will be associated with a proportional currency appreciation, and that a decrease will be associated with a proportional currency depreciation.

Using this method, the UK comes in 9th place behind China, USA, India, Japan, Germany, Russia, Brazil and India

https://fullfact.org/economy/uk-worlds-5th-or-9th-largest-economy/

https://secondreading.uk/economy/is-the-uk-the-worlds-5th-or-9th-largest-economy/

Regardless of the mechanism for calculating the size of the UK economy and even without breaking down the current actual trading between countries in the EU with the UK, I would expect that there are benefits for the EU in being able to have free trade (non-tariff) access to the UK market.

Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s speech is part of the State Opening of Parliament and happens when Parliament reassembles after a general election and then at the start of each Parliamentary session. Only the monarch can call a Parliament together and no business can happen until the Queen reads her speech. Her Majesty The Queen delivered the 2017 Queen’s Speech on 21 June in the Houses of Parliament. It sets out the government’s agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation.

The actual speech can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2017

Here is a summary with details of the 27 Bills and Draft Bills outlined in the speech.

  • Delivering Brexit
  • Building a stronger economy
  • Making our country fairer
  • Making our country safer and more united
  • Other measures

Brexit

Repeal Bill – repealing the European Communities Act 1972 and converting EU law into UK law
Customs Bill – to ensure that the UK has a standalone UK customs regime on exit
Trade Bill – to put in place the necessary legislative framework to allow the UK to operate its own independent trade policy upon exit from the EU
Immigration Bill – to establish new powers concerning the immigration status of EEA nationals
Fisheries Bill – to enable the UK to exercise responsibility for access to fisheries and management of its waters.
Agriculture Bill – to ensure that after we leave the EU we have an effective system in place to support UK farmers and protect our natural environment.
Nuclear Safeguards Bill – to establish a UK nuclear safeguards regime as we leave the EE and Euratom.
International Sanctions Bill – to establish a new sovereign UK framework to implement international sanctions on a multilateral or unilateral basis

Building a stronger economy

Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill – will ensure the UK continues to be at the forefront of developing new technology in electric and automated road vehicles
Space Industry Bill – powers to license a wide range of new commercial spaceflight, and to create a regulatory framework to ensure that commercial spaceflight in the UK remains safe
High Speed 2 Phase 2A Bill – will provide the powers to build and operate the next stage of the HS2 network between Birmingham and Crewe.
Smart Meter Bill – to help deliver more transparent energy bills
National Insurance Contributions Bill – will legislate for National Insurance contributions changes announced in the Budget 2016 and Autumn Statement 2016.

Making our country fairer

Travel Protection Bill – will improve protection for holidaymakers by updating the UK’s financial protection scheme for holidays
Draft Tenants’ Fees Bill – to tackle unfair fees on tenants in the private rental market
Draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill – to help tackle the evil of domestic abuse and violence
Civil Liability Bill – to crack down on fraudulent whiplash claims
Courts Bill – to reform the courts system in England and Wales to ensure it is more efficient and accessible
Financial Guidance and Claims Bill – will combine three financial advice bodies into one, ensuring that people across the UK are able to seek the help and advice they need to manage their finances
Goods Mortgage Bill – will implement recommendations from the Law Commission to update Victorian era law on logbook loans

Making our country safer and more united

Armed Forces Bill – will ensure our armed forces have all the resources and capability they need to be the best in the world and keep our country safe.
Data Protection Bill – to ensure the UK has a data protection regime that is fit for the 21st century
Draft Patient Safety Bill – to help improve patient safety in the NHS and instil greater public confidence in the provision of healthcare services in England

Other measures

The programme will include three Finance Bills to implement budget decisions.

The Summer Finance Bill 2017 will include a range of tax measures including those to tackle avoidance.

The programme will also include a technical Bill to ratify several minor EU agreements and further Bills, which will be announced in due course, to effect the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The government will also be taking forward a range of other measures which may not require primary legislation.

Further information can be found at

Queen’s Speech 2017: what it means for you

There is also a document containing briefing notes on the announcements made in the 2017 Queen’s Speech which can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/queens-speech-2017-background-briefing-notes

and a copy is also available at

Queen’s Speech Background Notes

Brexit – Opening Remarks by David Davis

The opening remarks by David Davis at the start of EU exit negotiations in Brussels.

I’m here in Brussels today, to begin the next phase of our work to build a new, deep and special partnership with the European Union.

But our thoughts this morning are rightly with the victims and families of the awful attack in London early this morning and with those who have lost loved ones in Portugal too in that terrible tragedy there.

It is at testing times like these that we are reminded of the values and the resolve we share with our closest allies in Europe.

For there is more that unites us than divides us.

So while there will undoubtedly be challenging times ahead of us in the negotiations we will do all that we can to ensure we deliver a deal that works in the best interests of all of our citizens.

To that end we are starting this negotiation in a positive and constructive tone, determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves, our European allies and friends.

EU – Brexit Negotiation Documents

The EU will publish all documents, related to negotiations with the UK, which are shared with EU member states.

The EU Commission tweeted on 22 May 2017:

We want full transparency. #Article50 negotiating documents will be released to the public & will be published here.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/article-50-negotiations-united-kingdom/european-commissions-approach-transparency-article-50-negotiations-united-kingdom_en

https://twitter.com/EU_Commission

The Commission, as European Union negotiator, will ensure a maximum level of transparency during the whole negotiating process.

Commission negotiating documents which are shared with EU Member States, the European Council, the European Parliament, the Council, national parliaments, and the United Kingdom will be released to the public.

Documents wil be provided at

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/publications/article-50-negotiations-united-kingdom_en

Some of the initial documents available are:

Recommendation for a Council Decision authorising the Commission to open negotiations with the UK setting out arrangements for its withdrawal from the EU

https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/recommendation-uk-eu-negotiations_3-may-2017_en.pdf

Annex to the Commission recommendation on negotiations with the UK

https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/annex-recommendation-uk-eu-negotiations_3-may-2017_en.pdf

European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/press-releases-pdf/2017/4/47244658130_en.pdf

Directives for the negotiation of an agreement with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal from the European Union

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2017/05/directives-for-the-negotiation-xt21016-ad01re02_en17_pdf/

European Commission receives mandate to begin negotiations with the UK

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-1405_en.htm

Statement by Michel Barnier at the press conference following the General Affairs Council (Art. 50)

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-17-1422_en.htm

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