Err, yes Jean, this is how it works

Thus far, we get it: the UK will be treated like any other third country – Zimbabwe, for instance. That’s clear and “clean”. But after that it gets complicated, at least for a continental mind that lacks the subtleties of reflection of a product of Oxbridge. Because May considers it possible for British companies to retain the greatest possible access to the single market, in particular to negotiate sectoral customs agreements with the union. And that’s where things get interesting. Because customs duty or no, importing goods into a market presupposes compliance with local norms and standards: to be clear, if the British want to export their cars (which are in fact German or Japanese cars) to the continent, they need to respect European laws. That means submitting (I know, what an awful word) to those laws. So in reality, the clear, “clean break” could only concern one part of UK industry – the part that manufactures for the local market.

And British cars that go to the US meet US standards, and British cars that go to South Africa meet Jaapie standards and so on and on. That’s just how local standards work you see?

Why Oxbridge is necessary to understand this remains unexplained.

51 comments on “Err, yes Jean, this is how it works

  1. The problem for liars is that lies–unlike gold say–cannot be beaten too thin or you start to see the truth through the lie.

    The Remainiac trash have squeezed their EU-sucking tripe so thin that they are now left with the lightly coloured dross of untruth–the deceitful equivalent of cellophane.

  2. I read that article amazed at how dim someone who clearly thinks he hlis smarter that the Brexiters is. I bet he agrees with Trump that you ‘win’ at trade.

  3. EU standards are likely to be very similar to US standards and other parts of the industrialised world, because if they weren’t the EU couldn’t export their own goods without producing different versions of it.

    And how different will things be? In order to sell in the Single Market and outside it we already have to support supposedly two different standards. We seem to be doing that without problems. What changes with Brexit?

  4. Rob,

    The big difference in car standards is crash testing standards and it is a big deal because it means different designs and production standards:

    A trade agreement between the U.S. and Europe hinges in part upon finding common ground regarding safety standards testing for vehicles. Such common ground could prove easier to reach if vehicle safety standards prove to be roughly the same on either side of the Atlantic. This past summer, a report that analyzed both U.S. and European car safety databases found differences in crash and injury risks for vehicles meeting U.S. and European standards.

    The recent study, sponsored by the U.S. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, found that occupants of vehicles meeting European Union safety standards have a lower risk of serious injury in frontal or side crashes compared with vehicles meeting U.S. standards. But cars meeting U.S. standards provided drivers and passengers with a lower risk of injury in rollovers. Such data could prove useful to negotiators hashing out the different car safety standards for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
    http://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/safety/us-european-cars-show-safety-differences-in-crashes

    and

    Naturally, that means more money spent on re-engineering cars to satisfy the two different crash-test standards, and automakers believe they could save hundreds of millions of dollars in costs if the crash-test standards were unified through a free-trade deal.
    http://www.carscoops.com/2013/12/automakers-push-for-unified-crash-test.html

    Its technical stuff like this that makes free trade agreements time consuming, not least because bureaucrats and politicians always like to think their standards are the best and so don’t like giving ground.

  5. Interesting that Boris’ casual reference to punishment beatings is the same as calling Hollande a Nazi, but this chap can compare us to Zimbabwe and that’s all good.

  6. I also remember a story from back in the ’80s when Japan was ruling the roost and everyone was complain their markets were closed, a bit like China now. One of the US manufacturers put a lot of work in to getting their cars compliant for the Japanese market (including making the LHD) and sent a boat load of cars across their. When they arrived the Japanese announced that the standards had changed and the the brake lights were too far apart, or too close or something other apparently trivial reason, but it meant all the cars being rejected and having to be returned.

    Again FTAs have to ensure these tricks don’t get played.

  7. BiND: All that cash could be saved by selling cars as is and letting people decide how much they value cost over safety.

  8. Likewise–govt dirty tricks are avoided by getting the scum of the state out of the marketplace–not millions of pages of legalistic “trade agreement” bullshit that they will get around anyway.

  9. Thus far, we get it: the UK will be treated like any other third country – Zimbabwe, for instance.

    Laughable. Is this the best you’ve got? People just aren’t going to take you seriously.

  10. Dick

    UK builds and is able to export cars to the EU because they meet EU standards. Nothing is going to change. Dick is too polite. Fuckwit works better

  11. The big difference in car standards is crash testing standards

    Emissions too, mainly because of the idiotic laws in place in California. How is that succession plan of theirs coming along?

  12. It’s the usual false dichotomy – if you object to being ruled from Brussels then you must want total autonomy (and autarky for that matter). But you can’t have that without turning into North Korea, so shut up, little Britain.

  13. > and everyone complained that [Japan’s] markets were closed…

    Surely it’s the Japanese themselves who are losing out here, not the Americans? There must be plenty of mid-life crisis Japanese men who would love to buy a big American “muscle car”, but are prevented from doing so by their own government.

  14. The Guardian always manages to drag up writers from the continent that make me want ‘hard Brexit’ to involve nukes.

  15. Slightly off-topic, but I wanted to buy the new Alfa Giulia. But I can’t get a manual gearbox in Blighty and I’m told I can’t import one from Italy, either. Apart from the Quadrifoglie, which is too expensive. So, putting aside my ire at Alfa for screwing over its base by foisting automatics and flappy sodding paddles on us, and my bafflement at why it should do so with a car it hopes will rescue it, can anyone recommend a proper sporty saloon with a proper petrol engine and a proper manual gearbox, which isn’t one of those Bosche mogodon jalopies?

    All I can find is the Mazda 6, which accelerates like a donkey.

    Ok, quite a bit off topic.

  16. Yes this! People don’t seem to understand that whoever we sell to we have to meet their standards. It doesn’t matter if we meet EU standards we have to meet the standards of the other countries too… and even if EU standards are nominally higher sometimes the test procedures are different so one product will need to be tested for each market anyway.

    The company at which I work does CE marking of safety products. I had at chat on the phone with the CEO a while back about what standards UK are going to adopt once we leave the EU. Of course no one actually knows what’s going to happen. Personally I think we should just piggy back on the EU standards for most stuff. Let those fuckers do the hard work while we can just have a gander and agree to adopt ourselves most of the time.

    Re US v EU standards in my experience EU stds are higher (although maybe that’s not always necessary) e.g. Your steel toe cap gets twatted with 200J in EU and 125J in US.

  17. “the reality is brutal: we are talking about a mid-ranking power of 65 million people, most of whose industry is owned by foreign capital, negotiating with one of the world’s principal trading, economic and monetary powers – a power that comes with a market of 450 million people. ”

    This is what passes for continental european orthodoxy. – we’re bigger therefore you are shagged. It’s like they can’t see Switzerland slap bang in the middle of them. Land locked by the EU and doing gangbuster.

  18. “Mid-ranking power”

    Lolololol. What the 5th or 6th biggest economy out of 200 or so?

    Even our decimated armed forces are better than what any of the EU members have to offer.

    Soft power? 2nd only to the USA I’d think.

    Eurofag clowns.

  19. Personally I think we should just piggy back on the EU standards for most stuff.

    A whole shitload of the EU standards are taken directly from the British Standards anyway.

  20. Even worse for May, she should not count on the 27 governments dividing on this issue.

    A French person who hasn’t heard of France?

  21. As Richard North (currently in meltdown mode, by the way) likes to point out, increasingly many of the “EU Regulations” are just re-badged international standards which we will have to comply with regardless if we want to export anywhere. Out of the EU we will at least have our seat at the table in setting these, as opposed to 1/28 seat as an EU member.

  22. A lot of EU standards are just British Standards with the serial number filed off.

    However, I’ll be ecstatic when we can get rid of the “compliant in an EU country’s standards therefore compliant in any EU country” rubbish and get rid of crappy non-UK electrical fittings in the UK. A screw thread light is NOT a “standard” thread, dammit! Stop lying to me! Or more specifically, stop lying to my customers who then call me out to install their fancy new chandalier but complain they can’t get any lamps to fit it.

  23. “the reality is brutal: we are talking about a mid-ranking power of 65 million people, most of whose industry is owned by foreign capital, negotiating with one of the world’s principal trading, economic and monetary powers – a power that comes with a market of 450 million people. ”

    Apart from the lie about the ‘mid-ranking’ power (and most of industry being owned by foreign capital), the “brutal reality” is that much of the EU is fucked economically. Even Germany will be fucked if they don’t trade with us.

  24. Rob, according to something I was looking into yesterday, the Germans might be getting badly fucked over anyway. Of course, for the French, that’s pretty much the point of the EU.

  25. It makes me want to see Le Pen win. If the Guardian still exists by then the outrage will be immense

  26. the reality is brutal

    Yes, absolutely.

    The cultured products of Europe’s finest universities, will decide to exclude Britain. Quite right too, no one needs those vulgar football hooligans – many of whom are involved in trade, for crying out loud -and their incessant small-minded whining.

    The brutal reality will be French farmers burning down Brussels.

  27. “The brutal reality will be French farmers burning down Brussels.”

    Wonderful. Did even Louis XIV manage that? Oh yes (WKPD):

    Nn 1695, King Louis XIV of France sent troops to bombard Brussels with artillery. Together with the resulting fire, it was the most destructive event in the entire history of Brussels. The Grand Place was destroyed, along with 4000 buildings, a third of those in the city.

  28. @Tim Worstall
    Aston not have something?

    Ed Lud is looking for a saloon, which aren’t an AM speciality. If you want a 2-seat ragtop, you can’t beat an MX-5 (except for very silly money).

  29. The brutal reality will be French farmers burning down Brussels.

    The brutal reality is Paris filled with vagrant illegal immigrants beating up tourists and mugging them.

  30. The author clearly has no insight into the design and manufacturing sector at all. We have spent years already specifying, designing for, and meeting all manner of diverse standards, laid down by many Authorities with Jurisdiction all over the world. Even if we confined ourselves to UK customers and standards we would have a wide range of different applications for electrical alone (eg hazardous zones, marine, domestic, industrial, commercial food preparation, HMOs…)
    Brexit really makes no difference to this.

  31. Alfa Giulia, EL?

    For your wife, I hope. A sound chap never buys a car with a name rather than a model number. And there are better cars for £28K.

  32. The point about French farmers is a serious one.

    Whatever view the EU bureaucracy takes, French farmers will want access to the UK to be the same as now. (And not just French farmers either).

    So, at the moment, we import x amount of French wine. If the EU gets in the way, we’ll just buy it from somewhere else.

    How well will that go down?

  33. Thank you, gentlemen, for some sensible replies. And yes, Theo, it’s an Alfa so normal rules don’t apply. Do try to keep up.

  34. I do hope you keep buying French wine, otherwise Sainsbury et al will be over here like a shot buying up the other half of the Rioja’s production they don’t already buy and prices will rise and rise and rise.

    One of the pleasures of living here is good wine at great prices and superb wine at reasonable prices.

  35. Spain will also be blockaded though? (And your Rioja will be even cheaper).

    I guess South America would do well out of this.

  36. Jack C,

    “So, at the moment, we import x amount of French wine. If the EU gets in the way, we’ll just buy it from somewhere else.”

    How’s that going to work?

    French politicians are stupid at times but I can’t see them allowing Brussels to ban them selling wine to us or even put a large export tax on it.

    Our own politicians are also pretty stupid at times, but it would be asking for trouble to put an extra tax on the middle class tipple of choice when there’s an election due not long after the Article 50 process is competed.

  37. @BiND, January 19, 2017 at 10:19 am
    “The recent study, sponsored by the U.S. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, found that occupants of vehicles meeting European Union safety standards have a lower risk of serious injury in frontal or side crashes compared with vehicles meeting U.S. standards. But cars meeting U.S. standards provided drivers and passengers with a lower risk of injury in rollovers.”

    Seems sensible. USA movies & Drama show rollovers are abundant in USA /joke

    Its technical stuff like this that makes free trade agreements time consuming, not least because bureaucrats and politicians always like to think their standards are the best and so don’t like giving ground.”

    The solution is: bureaucrats should abandon the regulations, instead provide information (eg EuroNCAP) and allow consumer to choose based on their own risk/reward desires.

  38. Damn, beaten by
    @Mr Ecks, January 19, 2017 at 10:26 am
    “BiND: All that cash could be saved by selling cars as is and letting people decide how much they value cost over safety.”

    .
    @Edward Lud

    Solution is “classic car” a Rover 820 Viteese is fast, spacious inside (more rear legroom than BMW 5 or Jag XJ), economical, reliable and excellent ride & handling.

  39. EL:

    “And yes, Theo, it’s an Alfa so normal rules don’t apply. Do try to keep up.”

    Says who, Jeremy Clarkson? Do you wear suede or brown shoes with a suit? Or wear a suit with just three buttons on the cuff? Choose a more understated car: why look like an aspiring drug dealer?

    Jack C

    ‘What definition of “better” are you using?’

    Style, taste, depreciation, service costs…even performance

  40. Ecksy

    “All that cash could be saved by selling cars as is and letting people decide how much they value cost over safety.”

    But road safety is not solely the concern of the driver/car owner. If your car has unreliable lights or is more likely to explode on impact, that concerns other drivers — not just you!

  41. Oh FFS.

    Because with all due respect to UK national sentiment, the reality is brutal: we are talking about a mid-ranking power of 65 million people

    There’s what, 196 countries in the world?

    The UK is in the top 10 economies. Top 25 by population size and GDP per capita (nominal and GDP). About the 10th largest manufacturer or so. One of the few strategic nuclear weapon states and blue-water navies. By what conceivable measure can someone come up with “mid-ranking power”? We’d need to be coming somewhere around 100th.

    most of whose industry is owned by foreign capital

    Even if that is true: so what? Are foreigners bad, all of a sudden?

    Which countries does Britain export to, and where does a good part of its foreign investment come from?

    Try using Google search. You’ll find we export a lot to the US and Switzerland… and they aren’t in the EU.

    Our 5 largest 2014 FDI nations in order were USA (41.7%), France (12.5%), Singapore, Japan, Canada… well, that’s 1 out of 5 from the EU. But hey, wait, Germany came in 6th with 5.4%!

    Threatening that Britain will become a tax haven if it doesn’t get what it wants amounts to childishness: such a solution might be possible for a micro-state without its own industry, but not for a country like Britain.

    Because…?

    To paraphrase Van Patten, another unevidenced assertion of Murphy-esque proportions.

    Since you’re here… …we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but far fewer are paying for it. And advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

    I wonder why…

  42. BIND,
    “How’s that going to work?”

    That’s exactly the point I’m making.

    France’s tyre-burning classes will be on our side, not the EU’s.

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