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Monday, April 24, 2017

It’s the Economy, STUPID.

UK fishing industry 'will need EU market access' post Brexit.

The UK fishing industry will need continued access to EU markets if it is to thrive after Brexit, a House of Lords report has warned. It also warns that Britain may have to allow EU-registered boats to fish in UK waters as part of an overall deal. Fishing regions around the UK voted heavily in favour of leaving the EU during the referendum campaign. The Lords review says these communities are at risk of being marginalised in the wider Brexit negotiations. The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), with its quotas and principle of equal access to commercial fishing grounds for boats from all member states, has often been characterised by the industry as a disaster for Britain. This dislike helped mobilise many in the industry to campaign for a leave vote in the referendum last June. Many in the fishing community argue that Brexit now offers the industry the chance to regain control over UK waters and become a leading fish-exporting nation, like Norway. However, the House of Lords European Union Committee has released a report that looks at the risks and opportunities for the UK industry.

Since UK fishing only produces a half of one percent of GDP and employs just 12,000 fishers, the Lords say that industry might be a low priority for the government but it "must not be marginalised in the wider Brexit negotiations". What complicates the picture is the fact the most commercial fish stocks are in waters that are shared between the UK and other EU coastal states. The vast majority of UK fish are exported, mainly to the EU while a significant proportion of the fish that British consumers eat is imported, often from EU states. "A successful industry," the report says, "therefore needs continued market access." However, that access may come at a price. "Brexit will involve many trade-offs," said Lord Teverson who chairs the Lords EU Energy and Environment sub-committee. "It may very well be that EU member states demand more access to UK waters than some fishers would want in return for our continued rights to sell fish to the European market with zero tariffs."

Joint call for EU citizens to stay in UK.

Businesses and trade unions have called on Theresa May to guarantee immediately the right of EU citizens to stay in the UK after Brexit. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which represents companies with a combined workforce of five million people, and the TUC made the call in an open letter to the prime minister. Failure to do so would damage the UK economy, the two bodies said. Downing Street said Mrs May wanted to protect the status of EU nationals. The bluntly-worded letter was jointly signed by TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady and BCC director-general Adam Marshall. "We call upon you to demonstrate leadership by providing EU citizens in the UK with the reassurance we would expect to be shown to UK citizens across the Continent - not by making one conditional upon the other," they wrote. "Now is the time to end insecurity for EU workers and for British businesses alike." There were 2.1 million people from EU member nations working in the UK as of March this year, according to the ONS. That was 224,000 more than the total for the first three months of 2015.

Post-Brexit deals 'not at price of EU free trade ties'

Post-Brexit trade deals should not "come at a price" to existing agreements with other EU nations, ex-chancellor George Osborne says. But he told the BBC's Andrew Marr the UK needed a "hard-headed assessment" of issues such as the EU customs union. On the same programme, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox did not reveal his stance on the customs union, which sets standard tariffs EU-wide. He said he was "a free trader", but the government would reach a view. Staying a member of the customs union would, however, mean "limitations" on the UK's ability to set its own trade tariffs, which would in turn limit the kind of deals it could do with the rest of the world, Mr Fox added. Mr Osborne, who argued for Remain, said it was essential that close relations with countries such as France and Germany were not sacrificed in pursuit of new trade deals with other nations including China. He told the Andrew Marr Show: "Yes it's true the grass may be greener outside of these arrangements and we may be able to conduct new trade deals with the United States, Australia and so on. But that shouldn't come at a price of giving up existing free trade agreements we have with Germany and France. You can't say we are a beacon of free trade in the world and then the main thing you achieve is a huge act of protectionism, the biggest in British history."

UK third quarter GDP growth revised up to 0.6%.

The UK economy grew by 0.6% in the third quarter, according to official figures, faster than previous estimates. Growth for the July-to-September period had originally been estimated at 0.5%. New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested that the business and financial sector was more active than previously estimated. The ONS also said that growth in the third quarter of the year was helped by "robust consumer demand". However, the ONS trimmed its estimates of growth in the first and second quarter of the year. It now says the economy grew by 0.3% in the first quarter, compared with an earlier figure of 0.4%, and cut its estimate for second-quarter growth to 0.6% from 0.7%. Ruth Gregory, UK economist at Capital Economics, said the figures suggested that June's Brexit vote had had little impact on the economy and that growth in the final quarter of the year would be positive. "The latest set of UK National Accounts leave the economy looking even stronger after the referendum than previously estimated," she said. "GDP growth in Q3 was revised up from 0.5% to 0.6% and the 0.7% growth rate seen in the second quarter was revised down a touch, to 0.6%, suggesting that the economy didn't lose any pace following the referendum."

All details above from BBC News website.

[Now we have the ‘distraction’ of a General Election to get out of the way before the road to Brexit can be navigated with assurance – or so says/hopes Teresa May. That’ll only happen if they substantially increase their majority. Hopefully that won’t happen and it’ll all dissolve into an unholy mess. At least I can hope! The election will, no doubt, be fought very much on the Brexit ticket. I wonder what the electorate will do this time…..]

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