Some New Year’s Resolutions for the Government

Conservative MP Marcus Fysh offers the following suggestions of New Year’s resolutions for government ministers…

I will stop being pessimistic about Brexit, will honour the EU Referendum result, and will keep Conservative manifesto promises to leave the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union.

I will take pride in devoting the civil service’s vast capability to preparing for any eventuality, knowing that it is in the national interest to do so and of itself likely to bring better short-, medium- and long-term outcomes to the UK’s arrangements with the EU and the rest of the world.

I will publicise the practical steps the UK and EU are taking to avoid disruption when the UK leaves the EU on 29th March 2019, and how they will be of practical benefit, including agreements in transport, transit and aviation.

I will tell business and the public how to prepare for any eventuality and help them do so.

I will no longer keep HMRC’s intended processes secret.

I will publicise how business can use HMRC’s and other systems to generate export declarations, transit documents and import declarations and statements of compliance with export regulations to provide sufficient advance notice of them to port operators.

I will publicise how business can use HMRC systems to import to the UK but postpone payment of import VAT, and show how this is substantially better from a cash-flow point of view than the intra-EU VAT payment system being introduced, where the country of despatch must now collect VAT from exporters.

I will publicise how industries with cross-border supply chains can use local importers in the EU to comply with import regulations, including in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

I will publicise how auto part certifications for export are not a problem as managed under the UNECE standard system, how the EU Council has now regularised the way that existing whole vehicle type approvals made in the UK can be transferred to the EU to assure market access.

I will publicise how temporary exporters can obtain carnets for duty-free transport as far as possible in advance, and propose reciprocal options for pre-inspection, for situations like travel for performance and trade shows.

I will use more realistic assumptions about costs to business of changed processes of trade with the EU, because they are ten to fifteen times less than feared.

I will use the UK’s actual experience of trade volume linkage to distance, rather than the continental intra-EU one, to model outcomes more accurately, because it is three to four times less strong.

I will from 30th March 2019 pursue the ratification of free trade agreements that eliminate tariffs and establish strong links in trade, between the UK as an independent jurisdiction and trade policy actor, and the EU, the CPTPP countries, the USA, territories with which the EU has agreements, and other identified trade priority countries.

I will propose an alternative agreement for trade facilitation and process simplification that enables authorities, communities and businesses to be confident of behind the border and in-premise administration of customs and other cross jurisdictional formalities, for the island of Ireland and at other EU borders, using the existing European Union Customs Code, and suggest further innovation for efficiency by way of the use of the EU’s VAT Information Exchange System.

I will not compromise the UK’s independence of military industrial development and action, and will not do anything that makes or keeps the remain subject to the EU’s defence directives or decision making by the European Commission or Council, and will in any event not make any agreements in the area of defence without the authorisation of Parliament.

I will be prepared to reach a reasonable neighbourly settlement with the EU on matters relating to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, as long as it enables and facilitates the above.

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