Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Geneva Effect

It cannot be a coincidence that the Alan Beattie of the FT draws attention to The Brussels Effect this week. In fact I would go as far as saying the piece lifted ideas from this piece and this piece and this piece without attribution. Typically that is how lazy hacks operate. They will steal anything that isn't nailed down.

We've seen this kind of behaviour before. It comes from all sides. Routinely we see the Conservative Home jokers deploying technobabble to cover their own wafer thin narratives - concepts they would never have known about were it not for the work of Like the FT, they cherry-pick the bits that suit their narrative while disregarding the hard won conclusions.

The reason the FT invokes the Brussels Effect is to point out that regulatory independence is something of a misnomer. This is not news to readers of this blog. We've been saying this for some years now in one place or another.

What the FT does not go into is the global dynamic where EU trade agreements are not geared to Brussels, rather they lock in their countries to using global standards and regulations. Something this blog has covered countless times. Further still, if you pick almost any technical regulation at random from the EU acquis you very often see it pointing directly at rules and standards set out by ISO, CEN, UNECE, IMO, FAO, WHO, Codex, OIE, ITU, ILO and others under the UN umbrella.

This further compounds the FT's dishonesty in that it still wishes to frame the debate about regulation in the Brussels context. The FT would have it that the Brussels Effect undermines the Tory position on deregulation, and indeed it does, not least because of the WTO TBT agreement, but as the Brussels Effect accelerates we find that the regulatory agenda slips further from Brussels and closer to Geneva.

Beattie says "The Brexiters’ plan to leave the EU envisaged Britain regaining sovereignty over its rulemaking. But it will have difficulty combining that freedom with still being able to trade freely and easily with the EU. Not just that, but the “Brussels effect”, whereby international companies adopt EU regulations across their global operations, mean many European rules are likely to prevail throughout the UK economy whatever the British government does".

Again this is another numbnuts who has never actually read an EU trade agreement. Looking at the EU-Singapore FTA, seven years in the making, the basis for "free trade" is regulatory convergence. In just about every comprehensive agreement you will find words to the effect of:
The Parties may agree on taking into consideration the glossaries and definitions of relevant international organisations, such as the CODEX Alimentarius Commission (hereinafter referred to as “Codex Alimentarius”), the World Organisation for Animal Health (hereinafter referred to as “OIE”) and under the International Plant Protection Convention (hereinafter referred to as “IPPC”).
This largely echoes the WTO agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (to which we are a signatory) which states:
Where technical regulations are required and relevant international standards exist or their completion is imminent, Members shall use them, or the relevant parts of them, as a basis for their technical regulations except when such international standards or relevant parts would be an ineffective or inappropriate means for the fulfilment of the legitimate objectives pursued, for instance because of fundamental climatic or geographical factors or fundamental technological problems.
In the provisional EU-Japan agreement we also see Japan being pushed to adopt not EU rules, but UNECE standards and regulations on cars. But this is the problem with the FT hacks. They are little Europeans whose horizons don't extend as far as Geneva. Brussels has become the centre of their world and nothing else beyond it exists. The only other people to hold such a simplistic and naive world view are the Brexiteers Redwood and Baker. Go figure.

For now the EU is still calling the shots in terms of registration and inspection system but increasingly we see the encroachment of the World Customs Organisation, and there will come a time when those states holding FTA's with the EU have the collective clout to out-vote the EU. Britain, being out of the EU will have its own vote, its own right of reservation and right of initiative and in some forums, free of the EU, we are set to enjoy considerably more influence.

Though this points to the futility of leaving the single market for regulatory sovereignty, at the very least Brexit gives us the right to say no and gives us an enhanced say in the creation of rules without being subverted by the ECJ.

Readers of this blog will need no explanation of how we can put this to use. The real question is when our lightweight media is going to catch up and wake up to the new reality. We might expect in a couple of years time they will raid the blogs once more - but only if it's useful to their agenda. Until then we just have to tolerate their galactic ignorance and their shameless dishonesty.

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