Friday, 21 October 2016

More on trade deals, and CETA collapsing.

So today I open Facebook, and see rather a few of my left-leaning friends post the story of the Belgian region of Wallonia causing the EU to, in effect, abandon the CETA trade deal with Canada. Naturally, to the remain camp, this is yet another scare story, I guess because it's meant to "prove" that negotiating trade deals with the EU is a long, windy, and complex process. And indeed it is.

But this story is in fact the exact opposite. It's a stellar example of why we want to leave that club. First off, a core reason why negotiating anything with the EU is because the other party, in effect, is not negotiating with the EU itself, but rather negotiating with 27 separate entities constituting the EU. In fact, arguably this rejection is the result of even more negotiating parties, as it wasn't even the sovereign nation of Belgium rejecting the deal - it was a region within. Picture this scenario, you wish to sell a product, say roses, to your neighbour, who in return wants to trade milk, but rather than dealing with him directly, he decides to pull in 26 family members and friends who also sell their own products - one might even sell a different type of rose! Now you're supposed to outline a deal. Now anyone coming to the conclusion that this will do anything but increase the amount of red tape, exemptions, and bespoke language on a per-product basis in the final deal clearly hasn't paid any attention to how the EU negotiates with her neighbours. Because that's exactly what takes place. Wallonia wants exemptions on milk, Bavaria on cars, Val de Loire on wine, and Peloponnese in Greece on cheese. Good luck sorting all of that out.

The alternative - which is what the UK opted to do - is to negotiate treaties between singular authorities of sovereign nations, not needing the explicit input of each individual region in order to proceed. Now, this might be an argument for the EU superstate, and fair enough, that's what some do wish for. However, that was not on the June the 22nd ballot, and had it been, it's very questionable if the referendum had been even close. Because it would have been the equivalent of transferring negotiating power to Brussels, a loss of sovereignty - an option not palatable to the clear majority of voters.

Finally, I want to point out the sheer ludicrousness of lefties actually wanting this deal to go through considering I see so many denouncing the TPP, for especially the ISDS chapter. Well, guess what. ISDS provisions exist in CETA just as well. If you're for the CETA, you're very for the TPP just as well.