Germany can’t allow “no deal” to take place, says renowned EU trade expert

Macron is being slapped down on his extreme demands

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2020

Is an EU trade deal possible? A well-known EU trade specialist and politician gives us his views

Exclusively for Brexit Facts4EU.Org

Former MEP and experienced EU trade specialist, David Campbell Bannerman, gives his thoughts on the state of play and the possible outcome of the UK-EU trade negotations, exclusively for Facts4EU.Org readers.

More than two years ago in July 2018, Facts4EU.Org researched and published two major articles (here and here) on the SuperCanada option for a trade deal between the UK and the EU. Today we bring readers an update from SuperCanada’s originator, David Campbell Bannerman, in the light of recent developments.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

David Campbell Bannerman's 'SuperCanada' article

  • The Germans can’t allow a “no deal” to take place
  • We are not yet in deadline crisis mode
  • Leading EU countries are serial offenders when it comes to State Aid, including Germany, France and Italy
  • The sticking points to a deal are well rehearsed
  • Macron is being slapped down by the EU on extreme demands
  • Governance by ECJ is like the EU having a 12th man, wearing their strip but being called the referee
  • The way forward is based on plenty of precedence
  • Much of the new deal is already written – it’s known as ‘SuperCanada’

The ‘SuperCanada’ Trade Proposal

  • Takes the existing deal with Canada (CETA) and adds to it
  • No EU ‘common rule book’ for British businesses
  • No freedom of movement
  • No annual payments
  • No jurisdiction of the ECJ over law in the UK
  • Includes services as well as goods
  • Proposes the elimination of at least 99% of tariffs
  • 23 out of 30 chapters will be the same or with only minor modifications

"Once the three hold ups are removed
we can still get a big SuperCanada deal with the EU"

By David Campbell Bannerman

(Former MEP for East of England 2009-19 who served on the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament and now a strategic consultant on trade)

The news from Brussels is more positive from multiple reports on a deal on the new partnership between the UK and EU, incorporating a comprehensive Canada style trade deal I have long called for as ‘SuperCanada’. There is a new ‘buzz’ and ‘improved atmosphere’, it seems, and they are finally looking at a draft written deal.

EU serial offenders when it comes to State Aid include Germany, France and Italy

I am not so surprised, as I really cannot see the Germans under Merkel, who hold the Presidency of the EU just now, nor the German President of the European Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen, allowing a ‘no deal’ to take place on their watch – not when German exports represent almost a quarter of all EU exports to the UK, and when a £95 billion EU goods surplus is at stake with the UK and German manufacturing jobs are already being lost due to Covid.

It is worth remembering that Mr Barnier might be the Chief Negotiator but is not all powerful – indeed he has to negotiate within the aims and framework set by the EU Council of national leaders, much of which have been unrealistic and ill considered, but which has tied his hands. Those bonds are now loosening. The idea of ‘parallelism’ for example – that of refusing to negotiate all other aspects of the deal until the main sticking points are resolved – has not been at all effective or helpful, and has been dropped.

We are not yet in deadline crisis mode

I think the timeline to watch now is less 15th October, which is what Boris Johnson quite rightly set as a deadline for a deal or to prepare full on for no deal, and more the deadline of mid-December in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where it is essential MEPs vote through the deal for it to be enacted by the end of the year. That means November for the EU Council to agree the deal, possibly in an emergency meeting, or their timetabled 10/11th December meeting, allowing some weeks more to negotiate a deal. In EU terms, we are not even in deadline crisis mode yet.

The sticking points to a deal are well rehearsed

The sticking points to a deal are well rehearsed but essentially are:

1.) Fishing Agreement – The UK has offered consistently right from the start a fishing agreement and to be free of the EU’s disastrous Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). One that recognises our national sovereignty and international rights under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – which confirms territorial waters of 12 miles off the coast and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of up to 200 miles.

Taking a practical approach, the UK will not be able to rebuild its highly damaged fishing industry overnight – new boats need building, apprentices trained, port facilities restored, new fishing businesses established. So, I have suggested a ‘tapered approach’, where we regain fishing quota rights over time, but starting with a doubling of what we have today. Norway, Iceland and the Falklands Islands all have successful fishing agreements we can emulate, and the recent UK-Norway fishing agreement has annual negotiations on the share of fish catches.

The Guardian is reporting a ‘phase down period’ is being offered 2021-24 for catches from EU fishermen, which seems eminently sensible, if correct. So, we won’t decimate EU fisheries overnight and have to fight a series of Cod Wars (which we lost against Iceland incidentally when we had things called warships) or tedious Channel blockades. We can also set the terms – no pulse fishing or supertrawlers, for example, which I would support a ban on.

The Daily Express reports Macron as being slapped down by the EU on extreme demands to keep the UK in the CFP and to treat our waters as theirs still.

A fund to ensure a smooth transition is also a welcome sign – the EU has a multitude of handout programmes to help fund industrial change and job losses, why not for an EU fishing industry over reliant on fishing in British waters that will no longer be a ‘Common Resource’ – meaning in the ownership of – the EU after 1st January 2021?

2.) The so-called ‘Level Playing Field’ terms - more to do with ‘Keeping Britain down’ and stopping us become what Katja Adler reported as being ‘supercompetitive’. The EU fears competition from a low tax, lower regulated, more open and free trading neighbour, and has sought to entrap us in an economic and regulatory straightjacket. We are right to resist and reject putting it on.

Much relates curiously around ‘State Aid’ rules – meaning Government subsidies for key industries or sectors.

Curious because leading EU countries are serial offenders when it comes to State Aid, including Germany, which now outstrips France and Italy as big offenders in ECJ cases.

We should be clear that there are two sets of State Aid rules – WTO rules, the sort that triggered a massive long-term Boeing versus Airbus clash leading to a record $8 billion of countervailing ‘punishment fine’ tariffs on EU goods by the USA – including unfortunately on Scotch whisky, UK textiles and cars. Then there are EU State Aid rules which are far more prescriptive and less trade focused. We are content with the former but dislike, and reject, the latter. If WTO is the basis to a simple rules base, as hinted at, then that is progress.

But we need to avoid the kind of workers’ rights and social diktats, environmental and Sustainable Development controls that the EU often hijacks trade deals with when they may be important but are not about creating jobs and boosting the economy.

I have proposed what is in most other EU trade deals which is a Regulatory Cooperation Forum (or Council) which manages the impact of new regulations or deregulation and their impact on the overall deal. So disputes on regulation can be handled day to day and not need the current rigid ‘take or leave it’ EU approach.

3.) The Dispute Settlement or ‘governance’ issue – As for dispute settlement, a great deal rests on who governs this and how disputes over the way the deal is enacted take place are resolved. The US-EU Free Trade Agreement TTIP floundered over this issue; as there were fears rulings could undermine the NHS and force US corporations on the EU market.

The WTO has an ‘Appellate body’, a sort of court. The EU has its own court – the European Court of Justice (ECJ or CJEU), but this is a political court which is primarily concerned at driving further European integration. Switzerland has been reluctantly forced to accept ECJ judgements on its bilateral agreements. It is like having a 12th man on the competing team wearing their strip, but being called the referee!

There is, as ever, a way forward based on plenty of precedent: that is of the EU-Canada deal, CETA. This has an arbitration system called the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, a novel cross between a court and arbitration tribunal in a ‘CETA Tribunal’ appointed by the Joint Committee for 5-year terms. Most importantly, the ECJ has found this to be compatible with EU law and workable in Opinion 1/17 of 30th April 2019, even though the ECJ is not given ultimate power.

The way forward is based on plenty of precedence

With these three items solved – whilst comparatively minor technical points, yet of apparent major political consequence – then the rest of the deal is pretty non-controversial.

Much of the new deal is already written – it’s ‘SuperCanada’.

What is needed is not a pure ‘cut and paste’ or ‘off the peg’ approach, but there is little doubt that a significant amount of a new UK-EU trade deal such as SuperCanada can be lifted from the EU-Canadian deal CETA.

After analysis, covered extensively before by Facts4EU - thank you - I concluded that only 7 major chapters out of 30 in CETA needed to be comprehensively rewritten - such as financial services – whilst 12 are near directly transferable, and 11 just tweaked. With such pressure on time, such lifting is even more important, but not just for speed – the majority of such terms in CETA are based on WTO Agreements, such as on Public Procurement, which are incorporated into EU FTAs – so this brings with it conformity to the global rules system.

After many distractions and detours, maybe we will end up with SuperCanada after all!

By David Campbell Bannerman, 04 October 2020


Back in mid-2018 we asked David Campbell Bannerman (DCB) to give our readers an ‘elevator pitch’ on SuperCanada. This is what he said:

“Most trade in the world is done through global trade deals - free trade agreements.

“I’m advocating for the EU-UK trade arrangements a ‘SuperCanada Deal’ which is bigger, better, wider than the Canada trade deal with the EU (called CETA) that completed last year.

“But it would have more. It would have 100% tariff-free access and it would have services in it. So basically, it’s the best ever trade deal the EU has ever offered and it’s entirely deliverable.”

The article by DCB above represents his personal views and he has significant experience of the EU to draw on. For 10 years he sat on the EU Parliament's International Trade Committee and has intimate knowledge of their aims and procedures. He is a confirmed Brexiteer, which is probably why the Remainers in Conservative Central Office did not select him as a candidate to contest a seat at the 2019 General Election.

Facts4EU has always held the view that the EU would never do any reasonable withdrawal or trade deal with the UK, because the EU is fundamentally run by ideological zealots who wish to punish the British for having the temerity to reject their federalist dream of one EU superstate run by bureaucrats in Brussels. Nevertheless we have always wished to give voice to all sides of Brexit opinion.

When DCB advocated his SuperCanada concept we were the first to give it the prominence it deserved. It was a pragmatic proposal, based on many years of direct experience of the EU in trade negotiations. Sadly, back in 2018 we still had the disastrous Remainer Theresa May as Prime Minister, and DCB’s proposal was not taken up. We believe that many aspects of it still have considerable merit and we hope readers find Mr Campbell Bannerman’s thoughts interesting.

If you haven’t already done so, could we ask you to donate today to keep us going in these final months of the Brexit fight? We remain the most prolific researcher and publisher of Brexit facts over the past five years and we have led many public campaigns, backed by as many as 15 other Brexit organisations, which have influenced MPs. We really would like to see this through. A fully free, independent and sovereign United Kingdom is still within our grasp. We just need your help to achieve the objective.

[ Sources: David Campbell Bannerman - exclusive article for Facts4EU.Org ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Sun 04 Oct 2020

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