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Brexit: Threat to the Integrity of the Single Market

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  • 09-09-2020 12:32pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭


    Firstly, I want to state that this isn't a very well thought out idea, primarily because I don't have a firm enough understanding of the area in question to fully reason through it. This thread will hopefully be a vehicle to help me to develop a better understanding.


    It seems to me that the only real bargaining chip that the UK have in Brexit negotiations, is the threat that the border on this island poses to the integrity of the single market. It is clearly an issue that the EU takes seriously given that the Northern Irish protocol was the major stumbling block all throughout the process and is proving to be yet again. Their threat to undermine the NI protocol appears to be an attempt to play that bargaining chip.

    If no-deal is reached by the end of the transition period and the UK follows through on its threat to undermine the NI protocol, then I'm inclined to think that there would be serious political pressure on the Irish government to do something to secure the land border between Ireland and the UK. This could result in some form of customs checks. It would be pretty disastrous if the ROI were the ones to enforce the border created during partition.

    I'm wondering if there is any way in which to neutralise this threat from the UK.


    This is the ill-thought out idea, the discussion of which will hopefully bring me to a better understanding:

    Would it be possible for Ireland to become a free port of the EU, and if so what would the consequences of this be?


    My poor understanding of what it means to be a free port leads me to envisage a scenario where Irish consumers would benefit from tax free (or lower tax goods). Would this mean that there would be a need for customs checks for goods entering and leaving the island, and would this be disastrous for Irish exports? Would there be any benefit to Irish businesses?

    In terms of neutralising the threat to the single market, my thinking would be that it might possibly flip the situation, with cheaper goods from Ireland being a threat to the UK market. Again, this is based on a complete lack of understanding, so hopefully if someone can point out where I am wrong, I will develop a better understanding.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,998 ✭✭✭✭VinLieger


    I think your missing the problem about how this is not just about cheaper goods its about how those cheaper goods could come to be so cheap and thats by a lowering of standards in the UK.

    Once the UK is out of the EU and depending on the FTA rules or lack thereof they will not have to meet the EU minimum food and product standards anymore. This is a key part of why the US are so giddy to get an FTA done with the UK post brexit because they will then be able to flood the UK with their chlorinated chicken and the likes which is cheaper but also far less safe.

    Obviously cheaper goods are still a big concern but they are only one of them and the EU definitely do not want substandard goods, especially food, to be able to enter the single market.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,872 ✭✭✭View


    The solution to the threat to the integrity of the single market is, as it always has been, to impose a full international border as happens on almost all international frontiers.

    At this stage, there isn’t a whole lot more that anyone in Dublin or Brussels can do to avoid that, given the current mentality of the political majority in Westminster.

    If the people of NI want to avoid the above possibility they can dispatch their politicians to Brussels and/or Dublin to discuss what exactly they could end up with, were they to choose to leave the U.K,


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    VinLieger wrote: »
    I think your missing the problem about how this is not just about cheaper goods its about how those cheaper goods could come to be so cheap and thats by a lowering of standards in the UK.

    Once the UK is out of the EU and depending on the FTA rules or lack thereof they will not have to meet the EU minimum food and product standards anymore. This is a key part of why the US are so giddy to get an FTA done with the UK post brexit because they will then be able to flood the UK with their chlorinated chicken and the likes which is cheaper but also far less safe.

    Obviously cheaper goods are still a big concern but they are only one of them and the EU definitely do not want substandard goods, especially food, to be able to enter the single market.

    That part I get and that is why I fear there will be serious political pressure on us to enforce customs checks at the border to NI, in the event of a no deal and the UK refusing to implement the NI protocol correctly.

    I'm talking about the possibility of flipping the situation. If Ireland were to become an EU free port, it might mean customs checks for all goods leaving the island of Ireland, meaning that Ireland becomes a buffer between the UK and the rest of the single market. Obviously, border checks for Irish goods entering mainland Europe would be a disadvantage to Irish businesses, but would the benefits of free port status balance this out. In a free port, would businesses have access to tax free raw materials? Could this offset the higher cost of export?

    If this were the case then Irish goods might be cheaper than UK goods, not because they are lower quality but because they have a lower tax burden with regard to production. Higher quality Irish goods could then flow into the UK but remain competitive on price. While cheaper UK goods would face customs checks leaving the island of Ireland before being able to make it into the rest of the single market.


    Again, this is all based on poor understanding of how free ports work, but hopefully by discussing it, I can become better informed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    View wrote: »
    The solution to the threat to the integrity of the single market is, as it always has been, to impose a full international border as happens on almost all international frontiers.
    This is what I am worried about, but would designating Ireland as a free port negate this? Instead of a full international border on the island, goods leaving the island would be subjected to border checks entering the rest of the single market.

    It would then be a question of whether there would be any advantages of having free port status, and if these would outweigh the negatives of border checks for irish goods entering the single market.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    Getting back to OP, why does Ireland have to change our economy to accomodate the UK? they are no longer the primary destination for our exports/imports, hell exports alone are down to 6% now !!!! was 10% when Brexit started
    The impact on the economy of little old Ireland is only of secondary (if that) concern to the EU. The only reason the EU is so engaged on the issue of the NI protocol is because of the possible threat to the integrity of the single market.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,998 ✭✭✭✭VinLieger


    roosh wrote: »
    That part I get and that is why I fear there will be serious political pressure on us to enforce customs checks at the border to NI, in the event of a no deal and the UK refusing to implement the NI protocol correctly.

    I'm talking about the possibility of flipping the situation. If Ireland were to become an EU free port, it might mean customs checks for all goods leaving the island of Ireland, meaning that Ireland becomes a buffer between the UK and the rest of the single market. Obviously, border checks for Irish goods entering mainland Europe would be a disadvantage to Irish businesses, but would the benefits of free port status balance this out. In a free port, would businesses have access to tax free raw materials? Could this offset the higher cost of export?

    If this were the case then Irish goods might be cheaper than UK goods, not because they are lower quality but because they have a lower tax burden with regard to production. Higher quality Irish goods could then flow into the UK but remain competitive on price. While cheaper UK goods would face customs checks leaving the island of Ireland before being able to make it into the rest of the single market.


    Again, this is all based on poor understanding of how free ports work, but hopefully by discussing it, I can become better informed.


    But what would be the long term benefit of keeping UK trade at current levels and in such a situation probably even expanding it again in the situation your talking about when we have been actively and successfully trying to move away from such a heavy reliance on exporting to the UK?


    Especially so considering their behavior over the last 4 years epitomising the idea of perfidious albion meaning they absolutely under no circumstances can be trusted to keep their word.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    The EU is so involved because we are the EU, and Good Friday Agreement and overall peace in Europe is the primary reason for existence of EU, trade etc is secondary to that.
    Don't kid yourself. If the single market weren't threatened by the land border with the UK on this island, there would be a lot less support for Ireland on this matter.

    Peace in Europe might have been a primary objective for founding the EU, but now that Europe is at peace, trade is absolutely the number one concern.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    VinLieger wrote: »
    But what would be the long term benefit of keeping UK trade at current levels and in such a situation probably even expanding it again in the situation your talking about when we have been actively and successfully trying to move away from such a heavy reliance on exporting to the UK?


    Especially so considering their behavior over the last 4 years epitomising the idea of perfidious albion meaning they absolutely under no circumstances can be trusted to keep their word.
    I'm talking about avoiding a hard border on the island. I'm just wondering if free port status would be another way of avoiding this. I'm not sure, because I'm not familiar with how free ports operate in practice. I was hoping to get a better understanding of that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,904 ✭✭✭fly_agaric


    roosh wrote: »
    This is what I am worried about, but would designating Ireland as a free port negate this? Instead of a full international border on the island, goods leaving the island would be subjected to border checks entering the rest of the single market.

    It would then be a question of whether there would be any advantages of having free port status, and if these would outweigh the negatives of border checks for irish goods entering the single market.

    I don't understand what a "free port" is but having "goods leaving the island subjected to border checks entering the rest of the single market" will compromise and undermine our membership of the Customs Union and Single Market and the EU.

    The rest of the EU are not going to allow VAT & customs duties + checks being done in a bespoke way in Ireland to avoid a "hard" NI border, and also allow no checks on trade between Ireland and the rest of the EU.

    We will end up with quite alot of barriers erected between ourselves and the other member states, so a semi-"Ire-exit" of sorts and a drop back into the UKs orbit. IMO we should not compromise membership of the EU for the UK, NI or anyone else
    If the UK leaves with no agreement and also breaks the withdrawal agreement, we will eventually have to try & implement a customs border with NI, as bad as that is.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,998 ✭✭✭✭VinLieger


    roosh wrote: »
    I'm talking about avoiding a hard border on the island. I'm just wondering if free port status would be another way of avoiding this. I'm not sure, because I'm not familiar with how free ports operate in practice. I was hoping to get a better understanding of that.


    No cutting ourselves off from the EU in such a way would in no way be beneficial to us in the long term and negate our single market and customs union access which is what we actually care more about vs a hard border. A hard border will be expensive, annoying and very hard to administer but loosing single market and customs union access would be crippling


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,872 ✭✭✭View


    roosh wrote: »
    This is what I am worried about, but would designating Ireland as a free port negate this? Instead of a full international border on the island, goods leaving the island would be subjected to border checks entering the rest of the single market.

    It would then be a question of whether there would be any advantages of having free port status, and if these would outweigh the negatives of border checks for irish goods entering the single market.

    You are proposing we effectively leave the EU/EU SM (since they are one and the same). That’s exactly what Brexiters have been counting on us doing right from the start.

    The current furore is basically them putting pressure on us, not “the EU” as a whole, because they reckon - quite correctly - that our politicians regard a no border situation as a “holy cow”. So long as they think they can hold us “hostage”, they have no reason to act reasonably.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    fly_agaric wrote: »
    I don't understand what a "free port" is but having "goods leaving the island subjected to border checks entering the rest of the single market" will compromise and undermine our membership of the Customs Union and Single Market and the EU.

    The rest of the EU are not going to allow VAT & customs duties + checks being done in a bespoke way in Ireland to avoid a "hard" NI border, and also allow no checks on trade between Ireland and the rest of the EU.

    We will end up with quite alot of barriers erected between ourselves and the other member states, so a semi-"Ire-exit" of sorts and a drop back into the UKs orbit. IMO we should not compromise membership of the EU for the UK, NI or anyone else
    If the UK leaves with no agreement and also breaks the withdrawal agreement, we will eventually have to try & implement a customs border with NI, as bad as that is.
    I don't fully understand the practicalities of how a free port operates, but they have their economic advantages. I'm wondering if the economic advantages would offset the negatives of checks on goods leaving the island. I don't think it would compromise or undermine our membership of the EU at all, as there are already free ports in the EU.

    This article gives a very basic run down of what free ports are.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    VinLieger wrote: »
    No cutting ourselves off from the EU in such a way would in no way be beneficial to us in the long term and negate our single market and customs union access which is what we actually care more about vs a hard border. A hard border will be expensive, annoying and very hard to administer but loosing single market and customs union access would be crippling

    We wouldn't lose any of those things. There are already free ports in the EU.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,904 ✭✭✭fly_agaric


    roosh wrote: »
    This could result in some form of customs checks. It would be pretty disastrous if the ROI were the ones to enforce the border created during partition.

    I'm wondering if there is any way in which to neutralise this threat from the UK.

    I don't think there is a way to neutralise that threat if the UK is going to fully burn bridges with the EU next year. We'll have to choose here, and choice is obvious to me. As for being blamed over a new customs border the UK/Brexit supporters will do that anyway, they've being blaming Ireland and the EU for everything the entire way through this sorry saga. I don't care what they think to be honest. Also, if people in NI want rid of a hypothetical NI customs border with EU/Ireland they will know what to do, assuming the UK isn't throwing rest of the Good Friday Agreement into the shredder.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    View wrote: »
    You are proposing we effectively leave the EU/EU SM (since they are one and the same). That’s exactly what Brexiters have been counting on us doing right from the start.
    There are free ports in the EU, so it wouldn't involve leaving the EU/SM.
    View wrote: »
    The current furore is basically them putting pressure on us, not “the EU” as a whole, because they reckon - quite correctly - that our politicians regard a no border situation as a “holy cow”. So long as they think they can hold us “hostage”, they have no reason to act reasonably.
    Do you genuinely think that it is the UK putting pressure on little old Ireland and the EU is standing up for little old Ireland? If the integrity of the single market weren't at stake the EU wouldn't be long pressuring little old Ireland to finding a solution.

    The EU also cannot be seen to force one of its smaller members to partition its own country.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,998 ✭✭✭✭VinLieger


    roosh wrote: »
    I don't fully understand the practicalities of how a free port operates, but they have their economic advantages. I'm wondering if the economic advantages would offset the negatives of checks on goods leaving the island. I don't think it would compromise or undermine our membership of the EU at all, as there are already free ports in the EU.

    This article gives a very basic run down of what free ports are.


    These free ports operate within EU countries which is why and how they work. The idea of putting the entire country as a free port would be ludicrous and it absolutely would compromise our EU membership.



    I think the issue is you seem to be coming at this from a position of the hard border is Irelands problem to deal with. This is the UK's problem and of their making which is why the EU are very much intent on making them deal with it.



    Why we would try to bail them out in such a way since as others have pointed out above its exactly the kind of thing brexiteers have been hoping would happen to get them out of the mess they created for themselves by refusing to understand or accept the complexity of the thing they wanted to do?


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,998 ✭✭✭✭VinLieger


    roosh wrote: »
    We wouldn't lose any of those things. There are already free ports in the EU.


    Yes free "ports" your proposing putting the entire country into this status so we absolutely would lose these things.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,904 ✭✭✭fly_agaric


    roosh wrote: »
    I don't think it would compromise or undermine our membership of the EU at all, as there are already free ports in the EU.

    This article gives a very basic run down of what free ports are.

    Will have a read thanks. The direction I'm coming from (giving limited understanding of free ports) would be a special system in this country for EU fundamentals like VAT and customs and imports/exports vs other EU countries would indeed see our membership undermined unless all the other members just let it slide and cannot see that happening.
    "Little old Ireland" as you call it is not a big country (compared to the UK) but not small enough to allow something like that IMO.
    They won't allow it for post Brexit UK (cake-having-and-eating) and won't allow it for us either.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    VinLieger wrote: »
    These free ports operate within EU countries which is why and how they work. The idea of putting the entire country as a free port would be ludicrous and it absolutely would compromise our EU membership.
    That's what I was hoping to explore, why exactly it would be ludicrous.

    VinLieger wrote: »
    I think the issue is you seem to be coming at this from a position of the hard border is Irelands problem to deal with. This is the UK's problem and of their making which is why the EU are very much intent on making them deal with it.
    I'm coming at it from the position that the UK might very well choose not to deal with it, because they know how important it is to the EU. This could end up forcing the EU to put pressure on Ireland to deal with, thereby making it Ireland's problem to deal with.

    VinLieger wrote: »
    Why we would try to bail them out in such a way since as others have pointed out above its exactly the kind of thing brexiteers have been hoping would happen to get them out of the mess they created for themselves by refusing to understand or accept the complexity of the thing they wanted to do?
    It wouldn't be bailing them out. The threat to the single market is their only bargaining chip with the EU. It would effectively take that away from them.

    I'm looking at this solely from the perspective that the UK follow through with their attempt to undermine the NI protocol. IF they do this then this would undermine the integrity of the single market, which is the EU's biggest concern in all of this. The longer it takes to resolve, the more of an issue it becomes for the EU. The bigger an issue it becomes for the EU, the more pressure they are going to put on Ireland to address the very real problem on our doorstep.

    If it were workable, and feasible, granting Ireland free port status could be one such way of addressing the issue - assuming the UK continues to act in bad faith.


    It wouldn't get Brexiters out of jail in the least, if anything it would put them right in it, because all their chickens would come home to roost with the added issue of cheap, higher quality goods entering the UK market from Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,932 ✭✭✭✭listermint


    roosh wrote: »
    That's what I was hoping to explore, why exactly it would be ludicrous.



    I'm coming at it from the position that the UK might very well choose not to deal with it, because they know how important it is to the EU. This could end up forcing the EU to put pressure on Ireland to deal with, thereby making it Ireland's problem to deal with.



    It wouldn't be bailing them out. The threat to the single market is their only bargaining chip with the EU. It would effectively take that away from them.

    I'm looking at this solely from the perspective that the UK follow through with their attempt to undermine the NI protocol. IF they do this then this would undermine the integrity of the single market, which is the EU's biggest concern in all of this. The longer it takes to resolve, the more of an issue it becomes for the EU. The bigger an issue it becomes for the EU, the more pressure they are going to put on Ireland to address the very real problem on our doorstep.

    If it were workable, and feasible, granting Ireland free port status could be one such way of addressing the issue - assuming the UK continues to act in bad faith.


    It wouldn't get Brexiters out of jail in the least, if anything it would put them right in it, because all their chickens would come home to roost with the added issue of cheap, higher quality goods entering the UK market from Ireland.

    We are the EU, im not sure how much this needs to be hammered home.

    Stop with the Ireland and the EU.

    Its - The EU.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    VinLieger wrote: »
    Yes free "ports" your proposing putting the entire country into this status so we absolutely would lose these things.

    We would still be an EU member. Granted, there would be checks on our goods entering mainland Europe but these might be offset by the advantages of free port status. That is effectively what I am wondering, would the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, or at least balance them out.

    Again, I'm only wondering this in the eventuality that the UK follows through on their intention of undermining the NI protocol and the EU is forced to take action, by putting pressure on Ireland to enforce a hard border on the island.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    fly_agaric wrote: »
    Will have a read thanks. The direction I'm coming from (giving limited understanding of free ports) would be a special system in this country for EU fundamentals like VAT and customs and imports/exports vs other EU countries would indeed see our membership undermined unless all the other members just let it slide and cannot see that happening.
    Assuming the UK persist in their undermining of the NI protocol, then the EU will be forced to take action to protect the single market. What are the options? I'm working on the very basic assumption that these are the only two:
    1) Pressure Ireland into enforcing a hard border on the island.
    2) Grant free port status to the EU.

    I'm not sure how free port status would undermine our EU membership undermined. The only issue I see is with regard to access to the single market, as there would be a need for checks on goods leaving the island. There would, however, be certain advantages to being a free port. The question is whether these advantages would offset the additional burdens.

    (This is also given my limited understanding of free ports).


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,998 ✭✭✭✭VinLieger


    roosh wrote: »
    That's what I was hoping to explore, why exactly it would be ludicrous.

    Firstly the EU wouldnt go for it under any circumstances.

    Secondly it absolutely would remove our access to the single market and customs union, in fact a link you shared explains this perfectly
    What Happens If Goods Move Out of a Free Port Zone?

    Businesses can only benefit from free ports when staying within their designated area. If goods are then moved outside the free port zone to other areas of the country, they must undergo the standard importing process, which includes paying for tariffs. Therefore, free ports are most beneficial for businesses involved in importing, processing goods, and then re-exporting.

    Also note the point that free ports are mainly beneficial to importing and not exporting?
    roosh wrote: »
    I'm coming at it from the position that the UK might very well choose not to deal with it, because they know how important it is to the EU. This could end up forcing the EU to put pressure on Ireland to deal with, thereby making it Ireland's problem to deal with.

    This was the claim the brexiteers have been making since June 2016 that the EU were gonna stab us in the back 4 years later it still hasn't happened and its not going to, in fact theres never been a hint of the EU waivering and they have if anything moved to support us more than ever so get over it and move on.
    roosh wrote: »
    It wouldn't be bailing them out. The threat to the single market is their only bargaining chip with the EU. It would effectively take that away from them.

    But its not a viable threat because the UK need a FTA with Europe which they will never get until they deal adequately with the NI issue. Also the US have made it very clear if the GFA is shredded there wont be a deal with them either.
    roosh wrote: »
    I'm looking at this solely from the perspective that the UK follow through with their attempt to undermine the NI protocol. IF they do this then this would undermine the integrity of the single market, which is the EU's biggest concern in all of this. The longer it takes to resolve, the more of an issue it becomes for the EU. The bigger an issue it becomes for the EU, the more pressure they are going to put on Ireland to address the very real problem on our doorstep.

    Again its not our problem its the UK's problem as they need an FTA
    roosh wrote: »
    If it were workable, and feasible, granting Ireland free port status could be one such way of addressing the issue - assuming the UK continues to act in bad faith.

    But its not workable, its not feasible and if the UK continue to act in bad faith thats their problem us becoming a free port would not fix any problems for us.
    roosh wrote: »
    It wouldn't get Brexiters out of jail in the least, if anything it would put them right in it, because all their chickens would come home to roost with the added issue of cheap, higher quality goods entering the UK market from Ireland.

    And what happens if they just stop all Irish imports in such a situation?

    Also again why would we reverse our tactic of diversifying our export markets and start once again putting all our eggs into one basket? Theres literally no long term benefit to such an idea.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    listermint wrote: »
    We are the EU, im not sure how much this needs to be hammered home.

    No, the EU is the collective. We are a member. We do not

    Stop with the Ireland and the EU.

    Its - The EU.
    Ireland is a part of the EU, it is not the entire EU. Ireland cannot make unilateral decisions that all member states in the EU must follow.

    Other member states can attempt to put pressure on Ireland to do something against the preferences of Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 985 ✭✭✭Fred Cryton


    The fact of the matter here is the British have the power to impose customs on goods between ROI and EU26, by simply making the border porous enough between GB and NI, and hence between NI and ROI (due to our insistence on no land border). That would leave the EU26 with no choice but to cut us off if they are to preserve their integrity.

    So much of the commentary stating the British are in a weak position is false. They will use NI as a bargaining chip in these negotiations, with the threat of the ROi being cut off as the stick. Which is what is happening right now.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,936 ✭✭✭PeadarCo


    roosh wrote: »
    We would still be an EU member. Granted, there would be checks on our goods entering mainland Europe but these might be offset by the advantages of free port status. That is effectively what I am wondering, would the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, or at least balance them out.

    Again, I'm only wondering this in the eventuality that the UK follows through on their intention of undermining the NI protocol and the EU is forced to take action, by putting pressure on Ireland to enforce a hard border on the island.

    If the UK decides to leave the EU and not stay in both the Single Market and Customs Union and make no special arrangements with the EU for Northern Ireland we will have a hard border. This has always been the case. The UK is in charge of North Ireland they decide the laws(let's ignore the whole unionist/nationalist debate). If Ireland wants to stay in the EU in any practical sense border controls will have to up on the Republics side. This has always been the case. The only other option is leave the EU and more or less rejoin the UK(at least in an economic sense)

    The thing is it will take time to put up the relevant control points and get them operational. On the other hand it's very easy for European ports like Calais to immediately check UK goods which has the potential to cause massive trouble for the UK and hopefully will make them see sense. That's where the immediate impact of a no deal Brexit will be felt, the Irish border is a longer term issue.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,998 ✭✭✭✭VinLieger


    roosh wrote: »
    We would still be an EU member. Granted, there would be checks on our goods entering mainland Europe but these might be offset by the advantages of free port status. That is effectively what I am wondering, would the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, or at least balance them out.


    No they wouldn't, we would be trading free unfettered access to the largest market on the planet to for temporary uncertain lower tax access to a shrinking, volatile, untrustworthy basket case market that is many multiples smaller.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,932 ✭✭✭✭listermint


    roosh wrote: »
    Ireland is a part of the EU, it is not the entire EU. Ireland cannot make unilateral decisions that all member states in the EU must follow.

    Other member states can attempt to put pressure on Ireland to do something against the preferences of Ireland.

    Ireland is the EU, the EU is ireland. The EU is the EU.

    Im beginning to see the premise of this thread, its not about understanding. Its about attempting to wedge ireland outside of a full EU member. The same nonsense the irexit clan were at. This is Irexit light. (similar to coors)

    Good luck bye.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,904 ✭✭✭fly_agaric


    roosh wrote: »
    Assuming the UK persist in their undermining of the NI protocol, then the EU will be forced to take action to protect the single market. What are the options? I'm working on the very basic assumption that these are the only two:
    1) Pressure Ireland into enforcing a hard border on the island.
    2) Grant free port status to the EU.

    On 1st point terming it "pressure" is a bit reflective of your mentality on this perhaps. I think this stuff is pretty fundamental.
    We are either an EU member or not. If we are not fulfilling key conditions of membership (e.g. by having a free for all/open customs border with a 3rd country and no agreements whatsoever covering the operation of it) the other members have to respond to that and protect themselves otherwise the organisation becomes worthless and may as well disband. All the member states with external borders do have customs checks etc.

    I think you mean "Ireland" in 2nd point? (Ireland becomes a "free port" inside EU and based on your short article everything leaving Ireland to go to another member state now needs full suite of customs checks, duty and VAT done as if it is an EU import).
    The rest of the members must agree, and EU would have to allow us this status, we cannot just declare it.
    roosh wrote: »
    I'm not sure how free port status would undermine our EU membership undermined. The only issue I see is with regard to access to the single market, as there would be a need for checks on goods leaving the island. There would, however, be certain advantages to being a free port. The question is whether these advantages would offset the additional burdens.

    (This is also given my limited understanding of free ports).

    That is the point I think. I don't know the trade offs either, but it would restrict Ireland's access to the single market, heavily I imagine. Being in the single market and having such free access is a pillar of our EU membership. It would be a very fundamental change to the economy here (every company exporting back into the EU now has to deal with full customs bureaucracy again, has delays on transit etc). The article you linked mentioned some EU reservations and skepticism of the free port idea - a potential gateway to tax evasion and other sorts of fraud/criminality. That is when it is limited to a port or a city at the very most.
    What happens when it becomes a EUR300Bn economy with 5m or so citizens??

    I found below details about EU free ports (edit: free "zones") in the EU:

    https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/customs-procedures/what-is-importation/free-zones_en

    https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/sites/taxation/files/resources/documents/customs/procedural_aspects/imports/free_zones/list_freezones.pdf


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    VinLieger wrote: »
    Firstly the EU wouldnt go for it under any circumstances.
    Apologies Michel, I didn't realise it was yourself I was talking to.
    VinLieger wrote: »
    Secondly it absolutely would remove our access to the single market and customs union, in fact a link you shared explains this perfectly
    We would still have access. Imagine a situation where a lorry trying to smuggle UK goods into Europe, alongside Irish goods, is stopped at a checkpoint. The lorry is searched and the UK goods are removed, while the Irish goods are allowed through.

    A system for charging VAT and customs duty would have to be worked out to ensure that Irish goods don't experience an unfair advantage over other EU goods. Or, a system which offsets the disadvantage to Irish businesses of having their goods undergo customs checks. In effect, balancing itself out but still granting access to the single market while blocking UK goods.

    VinLieger wrote: »
    Also note the point that free ports are mainly beneficial to importing and not exporting?
    Importing and re-exporting, it says. The tax rules could be engineered to ensure no unfair advantage to Irish goods as well as no disadvantaging.

    VinLieger wrote: »
    This was the claim the brexiteers have been making since June 2016 that the EU were gonna stab us in the back 4 years later it still hasn't happened and its not going to, in fact theres never been a hint of the EU waivering and they have if anything moved to support us more than ever so get over it and move on.
    If the UK follows through and the single market is threatened, you can absolutely bet your bottom dollar the EU is going to take what action they can. Of course they are supporting us more, they need to present a strong front, bu the UK know that if the single market is threatened, the EU will be forced to act.

    VinLieger wrote: »
    But its not a viable threat because the UK need a FTA with Europe which they will never get until they deal adequately with the NI issue. Also the US have made it very clear if the GFA is shredded there wont be a deal with them either.
    and the threat to the integrity of the single market is their biggest bargaining chip. If they follow through with that threat then:
    a) The EU will be forced to negotiate to address that threat
    b) The EU will be forced to put pressure on Ireland to enforce a hard border
    c) The Tories will back down.
    d) Ireland gets granted free port status.

    I'm talking about the eventuality that the Tories don't back down.

    wrt the US. They will put pressure on the UK no doubt, but they are not going to throw away a free trade deal with the UK where they can dictate the terms. They will demonstrate that, technically, they are not in breach of the GFA and that will have to be sufficient for the US.


    VinLieger wrote: »
    Again its not our problem its the UK's problem as they need an FTA
    Unless the UK don't back down and then it becomes our problem because the EU needs to maintain the integrity of the single market.

    VinLieger wrote: »
    But its not workable, its not feasible and if the UK continue to act in bad faith thats their problem us becoming a free port would not fix any problems for us.
    If the UK continue to act in bad faith it becomes our problem bcos the EU are not going to simply say, "oh well, those dastardly brits aren't implementing the NI protocol properly and now it's threatening the integrity of the single market. I guess there's nothing we can do!"

    No, they are going to put pressure on us to solve the issue that is on our island.

    VinLieger wrote: »
    And what happens if they just stop all Irish imports in such a situation?
    Then it won't be long before there is a border poll because NI wouldn't survive without exports to the UK. And before you say that you are talking about imports form the republic, think about how you go about policing that.
    VinLieger wrote: »
    Also again why would we reverse our tactic of diversifying our export markets and start once again putting all our eggs into one basket? Theres literally no long term benefit to such an idea.
    I'm not sure why you think that would be the case. We would still have access to the single market. We could still do the same amount of trade with the EU.

    The issue is that, while cheap, lower quality goods coming from the UK would be a threat to the single market and hence the need for customs checks. In a free port situation, cheap, higher quality goods would be a threat to the UK market, thereby flipping the situation back on the UK. It would nullify their most powerful bargaining chip and do to them, instead, what they are trying to do to the EU.


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