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Analysis

Even 3-year transition won’t be enough

by Hugo Dixon | 03.10.2017

The Tories are bickering over whether we’ll need two or three years to cushion the blow after Brexit. They’re in denial. We’ll need much more.

The high priestess of denial is Theresa May. She told the BBC on Sunday that we will have an agreement on our future relationship with the EU by the time we leave. What we’ll then need is a period to implement things like IT systems.

The problem is no expert thinks there is a snowball’s chance in hell of agreeing our final deal with the EU by March 2019. The best we can hope is to agree the “framework” of such a deal.

What this means is that the transitional period can’t just be used to implement the new deal. We will first need to nail it down.

How long we’ll need to negotiate the detail will depend on what sort of deal we want. If we were happy to trade with the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms, we wouldn’t have to do much. But the government has rightly concluded this would be a bad idea as it would damage the economy.

The snag is that it could take several years to negotiate the deep and comprehensive free trade deal with the EU that the prime minister wants. The detail would be mind-numbing. It’s only after this deal was done that the UK would be able to implement it.

If we lock ourselves into a two-year transition, or even a three-year one, we will have to rely on WTO terms at the end of it because the new deal won’t be ready. The economy will then fall off a cliff.

All this will happen just before the next election. Do the Tories really want that?

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    Edited by Luke Lythgoe

    3 Responses to “Even 3-year transition won’t be enough”

    • Notice in the picture they all three have weak chins especially Boris…………..Why hasn’t devaluation been a wake up call to British people ? Everybody has been robbed unless you have assets abroad.

    • It just gets worse and worse, doesn’t it ? I suppose, eventually, even the hardliners will realise that Brexit is a VERY BAD idea. They will then have to find a way of leaving while not leaving, and selling this to their mindless supporters, who have all had prefrontal lobotomies, care of the Sun and the Mail. The true horror is that we might end up with Boris as PM. However, this pales when compared to the possibility of Rees-Mogg in no 10. Now that is truly SCAREY.

    • Is reverting to WTO rules really that simple? My understanding is we would have to draw up and agree with 169 other countries, new schedules, quotas and tariffs in a process so complicated it could take years.

      Or am I missing something?