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Extension to Brexit transition period vital to Yorkshire – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Graham Rawlings, Chair, Selby for Europe.

Friday, 26th June 2020, 4:44 pm

British flags by the statue in Parliament Square to Sir Winston Churchill – Britain is due to leave the EU on December 31, 2020, with or without a trade deal.

TONY Galbraith seems to be at odds with most of British industry when he claims an extension to the Brexit transition period won’t be of any assistance to the UK economy (The Yorkshire Post, June 20).

Virtually every British trade body has called for one, and in my opinion the transition period will have to be extended, whatever the Government is saying now.

The £24bn he mentions as the cost of a two-year extension is not a “certainty”, as he knows.

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Should Britain be looking to extend its Brexit transition period with the EU beyond December 31?

I assume he has read Article 132 of the Withdrawal Agreement – the cost is negotiable. It could be very small, even zero if an extension is in both side’s interests.

In any case, the Government has already committed to making an “appropriate financial contribution” to continue participation in EU programmes (Euratom, Erasmus, Copernicus, Horizon, Galileo, etc) – see page 23 of the UK mandate published in February.

So paying for a short extension is not breaking any great principle.

As for the £150bn trade deficit, this will almost certainly increase without an extension.

After all, Michael Gove, the Cabinet minister in charge of negotiations, has announced we will waive imports through into this country unchecked while the French and Dutch are already prepared to carry out customs and security formalities, which is bound to slow our exports substantially.

And I think when he suggests taking “affirmative action”, and talks of intervening “to lift British manufacturing”, Mr Galbraith must mean subsidies of one sort or another.

I suggest he reads the WTO agreement on Subsidies and Countermeasures (SCM) where he will find we are just as ‘shackled’ as before.

If we do ignore WTO rules, he will find a US-UK trade deal impossible.

The Americans have a whole section on opposition to subsidies in their published negotiating objectives – see page nine – and have spent the last 10 years pursuing the EU, including the UK, through the WTO disputes procedure.

Oh, and by the way, the USA is against farming subsidies too.

The damage to our economy will only be made worse by crashing out of the single market overnight on December 31, 2020, without a trade deal, and an implementation period, to adjust to the much more costly and onerous trading conditions with our largest and closest market is essential.

Editor’s note: first and foremost – and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity – I hope this finds you well.

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