Peter Foster @pmdfoster Europe Editor of the Daily Telegraph. Formerly based in Washington DC, Beijing and New Delhi. Opinions my own. Jul. 09, 2019 3 min read

The British-Irish Chamber of Commerce has run rule over "Alternative Arrangements" ideas of @ShankerSingham1 and co...and trashed them.

My report with comment from @nealerichmond @NicoleSykes_ @hayward_katy and others 1/tread
 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/09/irish-border-brexit-blueprint-lacks-credibility-british-irish/ 

You can read the full @BrIreCham readout here - only three or four pages - but some selected highlights by me.

[The Chamber, which is bilateral, was founded 2011 to promote IE-UK trade worth £50bn and supporting 400k jobs] /2

 https://www.britishirishchamber.com/brexit-views-5-july-2019/ 

The first point is that - as noted in recent threads - that the @ProsperityUK_ report backed by @GregHands @NickyMorgan01 requires checks, just not "at" the border, diluting commitments in 2017 Joint Report. /3

Second, the fundamental idea of a single UK-Ireland zone for plant/animal product (SPS) regs based on "deemed equivalence" with the EU is a shakey foundation indeed, since it risks Ireland's position in EU single market. @nealerichmond is even straighter. "non-starter" he says/4

Which (and the reports authors who presented to the Chamber in Dublin last Thursday) admit this is pretty big "IF" in their scheme....indeed, there are a bunch more "IF"s when it comes to derogations on where checks are done etc....lots of wishful thinking. /5

Then there was the issue of whether even these ideas were workable....

One food wholesale/retail company in NI estimated they would need "35 vets" per night to make it work - some products need three certifications. /6

Then there was the issue of smuggling, the costs to business - compared to the zero costs of the Irish backstop (which Irish and NI business supports) and the actual viability of many of @shankersingham1 ideas. Here's what they say on the cost point/7 :

But an example of viability. One plan, for larger businesses, is for them to join a trusted trader scheme like the "CSA Platinum programme between Canada and the USA"....but as @hayward_katy from QUB tells me (just back from research trip to US-Canada border) that's a dud /8

All that is pretty much par for the course...the Chamber concludes the Alternative Arrangements would be "worse for businesses" in Ireland and "lack credibility in the reality of how all-island trade actually works". Oooph.

But one more interesting thing.../9

/9

After the presentation the Chamber drew a fascinating insight:

Not only does the AAC want to dilute the Joint Report, but they *really* want an all-Ireland solution - even if they accept that the DUP won't wear it now. /10

This is important - and it was hinted at again in the AAC's interim report exec summary here. A paragraph worth re-reading. /11

 https://www.prosperity-uk.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2019/06/AAC-Interim-Report-Executive-Summary.pdf 

The implications seem pretty clear - when it comes down it, the Brexiteer commission on fixing the Irish border reckons the @duponline will need to compromise to deliver Brexit for Great Britain. The solution will have to be some form of all-Ireland alignment. /12

And this isn't all that hypothetical, because the AAC report basically already admits that it won't work:

"We accept that this would be difficult to negotiate" its says of the SPS/equivalence regime on which the entire plan is founded. /13

The @BrIreCham fisking of their plan is yet further proof, if it were needed, that the "abundant" technical fixes promised by @BorisJohnson are miles short of workable.

So if not that, then what? /14

The AAC already seems to hint at the answer, once Stormont institutions are back up, there will have to be a great deal more flexibility on the DUP 'red lines'. /15

Part of me even wondered whether all the talk of 'Free Ports' being re-introduced might provide further smokescreen for softening the idea that Northern Ireland's (already different) position vis-a-vis the EU/GB might become more different. /16

Lastly, what is even more interesting is the lack of outcry from the @duponline on what @ShankerSingham1 and co seem to be alluding to....the Party has very noticeably not taken the bait.

Make of that what you will. /17 ENDS


You can follow @pmdfoster.



Bookmark

____
Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.

Enjoy Threader? Sign up.

Threader is an independent project created by only two developers. The site gets 500,000+ visits a month and our iOS Twitter client was featured as an App of the Day by Apple. Running this space is expensive and time consuming. If you find Threader useful, please consider supporting us to make it a sustainable project.