back to article Tech to solve post-Brexit customs woes doesn't exist yet, peers say

The UK’s post-Brexit customs arrangements have today come under even greater pressure, as peers warned the tech doesn’t exist to back up the plans. In its proclamations about future customs arrangements, the British government has repeatedly leaned on the idea that “new technology” will solve its border-related woes. But that …

  1. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Technology that doesn't exist

    is the only kind of technology that a government department can deliver by next March.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Technology that doesn't exist

      "Technology that doesn't exist

      is the only kind of technology that a government department can deliver by next March."

      I doubt if, by next March, they would have decided on the centrepieces for the tables to have the discussion about the font size for the headed notepaper on which they will write the minutes for the meetings to discuss the problem.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Technology that doesn't exist

        I doubt if, by next March, they would have decided on the centrepieces for the tables to have the discussion about the font size for the headed notepaper on which they will write the minutes for the meetings to discuss the problem.

        Nasally-fitted fire, anyone?

      2. VIA_KT133
        Pint

        Re: Technology that doesn't exist

        Sir, I applaud your optimism.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Technology that doesn't exist

      But surely that depends on what agreement you make? As we don't know what the final trade agreement might be, we can't know if it will be possible to implement it. Also there's a transition period after March, which can be used to get everything in place, once we do know what will be agreed - if anything is agreed. So there's a bit longer than 9 months to do everything. Just not much more...

      Anyway there can always be a transition period and then a post-transition period transition to the new technology period, and then a post final transition deadline transition to accommodate the timetable slippage of the post-transition transition period...

      1. VinceH Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Technology that doesn't exist

        "Anyway there can always be a transition period and then a post-transition period transition to the new technology period, and then a post final transition deadline transition to accommodate the timetable slippage of the post-transition transition period...

        Speaking as someone firmly in the remainer camp, and who therefore thinks Brexit will be bad, you've just made it sound a whole lot worse.

        Why?

        You've just conflated it in my mind with the confirmation prompts in Windows Vista.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "there's a transition period after March"

        If, and only if a deal includes it. A no-deal would mean any existing agreement ceases, and full non-EU member rules start to apply.

        IMHO, the only chance for UK is to implore an extension to the two year period. It requires an unanimous vote, though...

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: "there's a transition period after March"

          Extending the 2 year period just means more time negotiating to nowhere. If the EU try to claim that Northern Ireland must be in the Customs Union, and the rest of the UK outside then no deal like that can fly. That nixes all agreements but a nasty hard Brexit or us staying in the EU or maybe EEA (though even that might not make them happy - Norway have a special customs relationship with Sweden but would it be acceptable for NI?).

          More time doesn't fix this. May could give in on Freedom of Movement, but most policians are of the opinion that people voted against this in the referendum. That could be sold, but I think would require re-writing our benefits system from scratch. EU economic projections from a couple of years ago (agreed by the World Bank) had UK poplulation hitting 85 million by 2040. That was due to coincide with our economy surpassing Japan and Germany's with the only question whether India overtake us to 4th largest in the world. But adding a third to the population of the second most densely populated country in Europe in 20 years seems a bit extreme. And likely to cause political ructions...

          1. LDS Silver badge

            "That was due to coincide with our economy surpassing [..] Germany"

            In which dream? It would require an increase of about 40% of the GDP - if German one stays flat.

            Maybe just because of more Chinese electronic money being exchanged in some datacenter in London?

            Germany economy is much more diversified, and it's still a manufacturing powerhouse. In a much better position to stand times...

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: "there's a transition period after March"

            "EU economic projections from a couple of years ago (agreed by the World Bank) had UK poplulation hitting 85 million by 2040."

            Economic projections from anywhere need to be treated with rather more scepticism than Gartner projections. Every budget I can remember includes the Chancellor making projections which are increasingly rosy in the future. The next year is hardly better than the current year and the current year is usually a bit disappointing. Even when one of those halcyon years forecast for the future becomes a bit disappointing once it's the current year.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "there's a transition period after March"

            >But adding a third to the population of the second most densely populated country in Europe in 20 years seems a bit extreme. And likely to cause political ructions..

            Why would adding a third to the population of the Netherlands be a problem for politicians in the UK? I assume that you did mean the EU when you said Europe as Gibraltar is 2nd by density if you include the entire continent. The UK is currently down in 4th in the EU, with Malta (1st) and Belgium (3rd) above us.

          4. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: "there's a transition period after March"

            "- Norway have a special customs relationship with Sweden".

            Well, they have a land boarder with Sweden, the customs agreement is with the EU. The boarder is not an open boarder, apart from that, to quote:

            "After the 1994 referendum, Norway maintained its membership in the European Economic Area (EEA), an arrangement granting the country access to the internal market of the Union, on the condition that Norway implements the Union's pieces of legislation which are deemed relevant (of which there were approximately seven thousand by 2010)[147] Successive Norwegian governments have, since 1994, requested participation in parts of the EU's co-operation that go beyond the provisions of the EEA agreement. Non-voting participation by Norway has been granted in, for instance, the Union's Common Security and Defence Policy, the Schengen Agreement, and the European Defence Agency, as well as 19 separate programmes.".

            And they pay for the privilege.

            There is however a very simple, fast and economical solution to the NI boarder problem, to add a new slogan to the silly mix - "stop scratching blood out of your nose".

            PS. Surpassing Germany and France, good luck with that, nothing wrong with trying.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "there's a transition period after March"

            "Extending the 2 year period just means more time negotiating to nowhere. If the EU try to claim that Northern Ireland must be in the Customs Union, and the rest of the UK outside then no deal like that can fly. "

            That's not the case, however.

            Ireland (N and Republic both) needs a 'transparent' border.

            That means that N Ireland has to be in the customs union.

            That can be done if the entire UK stays in the customs union... which May rejects.

            That means some kind of checks between N. I. and the rest of the UK... which May also rejects.

            The irony of it is that May's rejection of any appearance of difference between N. I. and the RoUK on the grounds that it would break up the UK is likely (if Brexit actually happens) to result in N.I. deciding to join the RoI. Scotland might well follow.

            Thus May's insistence on no apparent difference between NI and RoUK is likely to result in a complete severance.

            You couldn't get people to believe this in a black comedy film.

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: "there's a transition period after March"

              "to result in N.I. deciding to join the RoI. Scotland might well follow."

              NI might vote to join RoI. The converse will not happen, unless everyone in RoI is an utter moron. The current lorry loads of British (as in GB, not NI) cash that flows over to NI is around £10bn/year. Total Irish government expenditure is roughly €7.5bn/year.

              Ireland cannot afford Northern Ireland, and won't be able to for the foreseeable future.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "there's a transition period after March"

                Completely true. If only Ireland was part was an international organisation with a huge budget and a commitment to closer integration of member states....

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "there's a transition period after March"

              Scotland is welcome to join with Ireland but I think some loose confederation might be better than including them in the Republic. Maybe a Swiss or German model?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "there's a transition period after March"

                Would Scotland want to be a republic after independence or would they keep a royal?

                Surely the Prince of Edinburgh wouldn't want to give his city back to the Scots?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: "there's a transition period after March"

                  "Surely the Prince of Edinburgh wouldn't want to give his city back to the Scots?"

                  There isn't a title in the peerage named 'Prince of Edinburgh': you're probably thinking of the 'Duke of Edinburgh'. This title hasn't been enduring because it has mostly been bestowed upon people who are in line to the throne or whose descendants are in line to the throne: if the holder, or their descendants become the monarch then the title merges with the crown and ceases to exist. Thus, the title had to be (re) created, for a third time, before it could be bestowed upon Phillip, who is only the fourth person to hold the title.

                2. LDS Silver badge
                  Joke

                  " wouldn't want to give his city back"

                  With all those Brexit money, the (ex U)K could build a new Edinburgh in Wales...

          6. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            If the EU try to claim?

            The British Government signed up last December to a backstop where Northern Ireland will be in the Customs Union, if they can't provide a more tempting arrangement.

            If the UK won't stick to an agreement on that, why would the EU expect them to stick to an agreement on anything else?

      3. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Technology that doesn't exist

        Anyway there can always be a transition period and then a post-transition period transition to the new technology period, and then a post final transition deadline transition to accommodate the timetable slippage of the post-transition transition period...

        The cumulative time of which will need to be expressed in single-digit SheepMarathons[0] in case of a no-deal Brexit.

        [0] 0.0070383633 seconds

      4. GBE

        Re: Technology that doesn't exist

        there can always be a transition period and then a post-transition period transition to the new technology period, and then a post final transition deadline transition to accommodate the timetable slippage of the post-transition transition period...

        Thank you Sir Humphry!

    3. John Lilburne Silver badge

      Re: Technology that doesn't exist

      Just more of the Unicorns that BoJo, Fox, Mogg, and IDS have come to believe in. Though this one seems to be part of May's Dogma and Disarray as well.

    4. SVV Silver badge

      Re: Technology that doesn't exist

      I've had a sneak preview of the 'technology' and I have to say I think lots of people will be impressed by it. Basically they're going to paint Jacob Rees-Mogg gold and have him stood at the border saying "no, we don't want any of that foreign muck here!' in his best C3PO posh robot voice whenever a lorry approaches.

    5. shrdlu

      Re: Technology that doesn't exist

      We don't have the technology to implement a no-deal decision and neither has any other EU country.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Technology that doesn't exist

        Really? - what technology do they use to trade with the rest of the world?

  2. Arthur the cat Silver badge
    Trollface

    But Shirley

    All it needs is a government IT project run by Capita and all will be well?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Facepalm

      Re: But Shirley

      Nah. EDS are much better!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But Shirley

      Damn you. Beat me to it.

      Might I suggest Accenture, assuming you Brits are also blessed with their services?

  3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Simple and cheaper still, why not have a small "honesty box" next the a couple of main roads for anyone to put in any customs duty they think is needed?

    Could be done on time, will cost less than what is not collected, and might have a slim chance of stopping a return to border bloodshed once more.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      On the surface that's the most practical solution I've yet seen, but then it occurred to me that the Faragists would be frothing at the mouth about our lovely British blue honesty boxes being polluted with euro cents that had once been in a French trucker's pockets and still smelled of Romanian garlic.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "[...] it is a significant technology programme — hundreds of millions of pounds — and will take five years to implement, to be up front about it, [...]"

    - billions of pounds - and will take at least ten years before it is abandoned as not working.

    FTFY

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      and will take at least ten years before it is abandoned as not working because they noticed we'd already sacrificed the pound as part of the price to rejoin the EU and salvage some of our economy.

      FTFY

  5. trevorde

    The answer is...

    ... BLOCKCHAIN!! Optional Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Virtual Reality.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: The answer is...

      There's no intelligence, artificial or otherwise, involved in the Brexit process.

      1. A.P. Veening

        There's no intelligence involved in the Brexit process.

        But there is, just not on the Brittish side. Brexit means Brexit, good bye and good riddance. And have fun with your new French Navy blue passports.

      2. tony2heads
        Unhappy

        Re: The answer is...

        Yes, they are using Natural Stupidity rather that Artificial Intelligence

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The answer is...

      ... BLOCKCHAIN!! Optional Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Virtual Reality.

      Don't forget

      DevOps

      Serverless

      Robots

      More Robots

      Yet more Robots, driverless trains (with a guard on board who does nothing apart from reading the newspaper)

      and more Robots

      and

      the whole nation being so broke that it can't affort to import anything and most industry is on a 2-day week with an unemployment rate of 60%.

      1. deive
        Devil

        Re: The answer is...

        "most industry is on a 2-day week"... actually that sounds quite nice to me, 5 day weekends!

        1. snoop-a-doo

          Re: The answer is...

          Even then I'd still be saying "I can't believe I have to go to work tomorrow..."

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: The answer is...

      Actually this is a perfect opportunity for BAe! Drone-inspection of moving lorries on their way to the border. With pay-by-bonk any applicable tarrifs can be paid. And if someone's in breach of safety standards, why then deploy the missiles.

      I'm sure this can all be quickly build from off-the-shelf technologies. We could call it ED209 or the Tradeinator.

      What could possibly go wrong?

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: The answer is...

        I'm sure this can all be quickly build from off-the-shelf technologies.

        For a price, my dear, for a price. Quickly, you say?

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: The answer is...

          Nah the real answer is IoT - Importation of Things.

    4. LDS Silver badge

      Re: The answer is...

      Virtual Reality, especially...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The answer is...

      Just get a customs plug in for excel. I've checked the net and there are literally thousands of custom plugins. Only needs one to work.

    6. JLV Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: The answer is...

      Actually, Virtual Reality seems to have been more relevant to the original question.

      Yes, my coat, I know.

    7. Ken 16 Silver badge

      The question is;

      What bullshit will the government swallow in an IT services proposal?

  6. Geekpride
    FAIL

    Deja vu

    Once again, the dreams of Brexiteers meet reality. Once again, the Brexiteers lose.

  7. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    TL;DR

    We're fucked.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: TL;DR

      "We're fucked.". Yes, have an upvote.

      But less that if you were a poor sod working alone in exports for a UK company doing a lot of business with the EU. The amount of shit those guys will see incoming in 1st april 2019 will be severely scary !

    2. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: TL;DR

      Quick! Cross a border before they come to a standstill.

  8. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

    Majority of trade already outside of EU

    ..so it's hardly a big deal to scale up said processes. A lot of what passes for "we're doomed" talk seems to actually be "we don't want to change anything". And as for Operation Stack and the like, they seem to happen with depressing regularity now whenever the French go on strike or have a hissy fit.

    There's nothing in any treaty that says we have to turn away imports we need. The EU can certainly turn away our exports, but as they run a big deficit in goods with us, that might be a little unwise: we are perfectly entitled to retaliate. Donald Trump got the world's fastest climbdown after threatening EU car exports, and since for example BMW sends 20% of it's exports to the UK, it wouldn't take much to expose the posturing.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

      Majority of trade already outside of EU

      Falls at the first hurdle. Better stick to fox-hunting.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

        "Falls at the first hurdle. Better stick to fox-hunting."

        Fox hunting not advisable for those who fall at first hurdle.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

          "Fox hunting not advisable."

          FIFY

      2. Geoffrey W Silver badge

        Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

        Hate to say this but he might be correct...

        https://fullfact.org/europe/uk-eu-trade/

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

          Sky's report took out the value of gold to get a more realistic view of the balance of exports between EU and the rest of the world... and it was 50-50.

    2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

      not a huge majority though...

      ..so it's hardly a big deal to scale up said processes.

      Except we lose all the free trade deals by leaving the EU, but do go on.

      A lot of what passes for "we're doomed" talk seems to actually be "we don't want to change anything".

      A lot of the Brexit folks also seem to be saying "we don't want to change everything, just leave the EU and have nothing change - why is that so hard?" which suggests that this hasn't really been thought through to me.

      And as for Operation Stack and the like, they seem to happen with depressing regularity now whenever the French go on strike or have a hissy fit.

      And that lorry park they're building to replace Operation Stack, that's just for fun is it?

      There's nothing in any treaty that says we have to turn away imports we need.

      Depends whether you want to collect the tax revenue and ensure any Syrian migrants aren't hiding in the back of those lorries, I guess. I mean, isn't part of the whole reason for Brexit the fear of migration?

      The EU can certainly turn away our exports, but as they run a big deficit in goods with us, that might be a little unwise: we are perfectly entitled to retaliate.

      But 44% of the UK's imports - including food and raw materials to make those exports - comes from the EU. Bit difficult to make things when nobody will ship you the raw materials.

      Donald Trump got the world's fastest climbdown after threatening EU car exports,

      Not really - there was a press release about starting a working group. So maybe in three or four years time something will come of that... perhaps.

      and since for example BMW sends 20% of it's exports to the UK, it wouldn't take much to expose the posturing.

      Ah, the old "German car manufacturers will save us" routine! Er, no, they won't. The Mini factory is going to shut as soon as Brexit happens - BMW own that. Doesn't seem much like posturing to me. After all, they have factories all over Europe, and it didn't take them long to build the Rolls Royce factory, did it? I mean, I'm sure there's some spare land at Spartanburg, or that motorbike factory near Milan, that they could relocate it to...

      1. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

        Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

        - Except we lose all the free trade deals by leaving the EU, but do go on.

        The EU *doesn't have* free trade deals with the majority of the world. The US? China? India? Nope, none of the above.

        - A lot of the Brexit folks also seem to be saying "we don't want to change everything, just leave the EU and have nothing change - why is that so hard?" which suggests that this hasn't really been thought through to me.

        I think you'll find "we don't want anything to change" describes Remain, not Leave :-)

        - And that lorry park they're building to replace Operation Stack, that's just for fun is it?

        Saves us shutting down the M20 next time :-)

        - But 44% of the UK's imports - including food and raw materials to make those exports - comes from the EU. Bit difficult to make things when nobody will ship you the raw materials.

        The EU runs a large trade surplus with the UK. Stopping UK bound exports would cause an instant and very severe EU recession. Why should the EU want to do this? Surely they're not that stupid? We certainly would be if we blocked them. Which we don't need to do.

        Re your point about German car manufacturers: I was pointing out how sensitive the EU is to disruption to their exports. Building car factories (or moving offices and people) is something that takes years: if BMW wanted to move a factory because it thought Brexit would cause chaos, it would have started in 2016. It still might of course, but there's no sign as yet. So why the desperate cries of "we're doomed"? Pound shop John Laurie's are ten a penny it seems :-)

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

          I was pointing out how sensitive the EU is to disruption to their exports.

          Which country apart from the US isn't? But having a trade deficit doesn't necessarily give you the better hand when it comes to negotiations not least because the deficit has to be financed some way.

          Like I said, better get back to your fox-hunting. You don't understand international trade and, worse, you don't seem to care about those whose livelihoods depend upon it.

          The time for posturing passed when May sent the application to Brussels to leave the EU. Anything that doesn't preseve as much of the existing arrangements as possible is going to very disruptive for all concerned.

          1. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

            Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

            - Like I said, better get back to your fox-hunting. You don't understand international trade and, worse, you don't seem to care about those whose livelihoods depend upon it

            Ah, the ad hominem attacks. Well, we shall see soon enough whether it's all a big nothingburger or the End Of The World. But someone trying to insult someone else in an online forum and failing is forever :-)

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

              But someone trying to insult someone else in an online forum and failing is forever

              I'll stick with my ad hominem and you can stick to your passive aggression, shithead.

        2. LDS Silver badge
          Facepalm

          "The EU *doesn't have* free trade deals with the majority of the world."

          You may have missed the recent agreements with Canada and Japan - others are planned, but US killed the one being discussed across the Atlantic. Discussion with Mercosur AFAIK are ongoing.

          Of course, a free trade agreement with China would be just suicide, as China imposes its own rules.

          BMW may have no hurry to move a factory - it can wait and see what happens before spending a lot of money. Of course, if it will see Brexit went the wrong way, it will still be able to move production out of UK.

          About car tariffs, I never understood why Europe should tax US cars (but remember US has a 25% tariff on European trucks). Really, who would buy a US car instead of an European or Japanese one?? They just consume too much, are less comfortable, uglier, less well built, and often too large for many European streets. Only Trump could believe Europeans (but a few foolish ones) could buy them.

          Every time I go to US and rent a US car, I think "when they will ever learn to build a decent car???" - and if I can ask for a non-US car.

          1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: "The EU *doesn't have* free trade deals with the majority of the world."

            "Of course, a free trade agreement with China would be just suicide, as China imposes its own rules."

            You might want to check with Australia and New Zealand, who both have free-trade deals with China, whether that's true or not.

            1. LDS Silver badge

              "Australia and New Zealand, who both have free-trade deals with China"

              Australia is in a very different geographic situation. AFAIK Australia is increasingly worried about the influence China is conquering inside its own country.

              The problem of "free trade" with China is China is not opening its markets, and puts burdensome rules like the need to have a Chinese partner, and the transfer of technologies, which doesn't make it "free" at all. In this regard, Europe has much more to lose than Australia. Exporting agricultural products is easier, transferring high-tech technologies is dangerous.

              Plus authoritarian states are not reliable, because they can change agreements on a whim - that includes US, now.

              1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

                Re: "Australia and New Zealand, who both have free-trade deals with China"

                "transferring high-tech technologies is dangerous."

                Well, whoops: too late! You do know that much technology manufacturing occurs in China? But I'm sure some Chinese "spies" have long since dismantled a BMW to see how it works and try and make a copy.

                "Exporting agricultural products is easier," European cheese, wine, cars, fashion. They can't get enough of it. Why wouldn't you want to increase hen value of exports to China?

                "Plus authoritarian states are not reliable, because they can change agreements on a whim "

                Indeed. When the UK entered the EEC, they were prevented by the EEC, from importing more than a token amount of NZ lamp. Thanks friends. But we coped with that whim change and grew stronger for it.

                "agreements on a whim - that includes US, now." So, what trade agreement does the EU have with the USA? And please explain how the US is "authoritarian" this year, but wasn't last year (i.e. pre-2016 election)?

        3. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

          What the EU does have is customs facilitation agreements with a great many countries which means the UK does spot check customs inspections with a lot of the rest of the world because there is a trace back to origin. And that's going to stop because they won't be exporting to the EU any more.

          And the only way around the queues on the UK side would be to throw open the borders to the rest of the world in a non-discriminatory way.

          If that happens, prepare to eat shit, buy lead-painted toys held together with thin metal death spikes for presents, and watch out for house fires brought about by dodgy cheap consumer electronic tat.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

        "I mean, isn't part of the whole reason for Brexit the fear of migration?

        Recent announcements about immigration suggest that the Tory party is inclined towards Priti Patel's "Leave" campaigning stance that EU immigrants should be replaced by those from the Empire's Indian subcontinent.

        India has already indicated that any future trade deal would require better access to the UK for their nationals.

        Australia has indicated it will want similar concessions - but a future trade deal will have to wait until they conclude their current negotiations with the EU.

        No doubt other countries included in Liam Fox's globe-trotting beggingbusiness trip will desire similar access concessions.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

          "Australia has indicated it will want similar concessions"

          They'll probably be acceptable to Brexiteers, at least until it's found they're supporting the wrong cricket team.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

        "The Mini factory is going to shut as soon as Brexit happens - BMW own that."

        And JLR are going on s 3-day week until Christmas (at least).

      4. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

        "Except we lose all the free trade deals by leaving the EU"

        That will worry exporters potentially, but if you are talking about imports (which the majority of you are) then what's the problem with zero tarrifs on imports? Then let the sniffer dogs do their work.

        But you are correct: it's all far too hard, all the independent countries of the world, who aren't in the EU, are basket cases or shit-holes. We should give up now, we used-up the last of the plucky spirit on VE day and there's been no innovation or can-do attitude since the industrial revolution. I give in: I love EU, Big Brother!

        You are all sad and pathetic. You'll be glad you are out when the EU troops enter Greece in order to enforce fiscal austerity, which a newly elected socialist (or at least left-leaning) government promises to end. Well, that's gotta be at LEAST as feasible as an independent UK crashing and burning and sniveling and asking for re-entry to the EU club.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

          what's the problem with zero tarrifs on imports? Then let the sniffer dogs do their work.

          I assume you would British businesses to survive against competition which has employees which earn the same in a year as people in the UK do in a month?

          And sniffer dogs must be mighty clever these days if they can find more than drug... in fact in an impoverished UK, legalisation of currently illegal drugs will probably happen as TWAD is costly to maintain.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

          You'll be glad you are out when the EU troops enter Greece in order to enforce fiscal austerity, which a newly elected socialist (or at least left-leaning) government promises to end.

          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          We already saw that on in action. How long did it take them to cave when the EU threatened to stop underwriting their bills... best measured in weeks as I recall.

          No troops needed, just threaten to cut off the handouts.

          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          Well, that's gotta be at LEAST as feasible as an independent UK crashing and burning and sniveling and asking for re-entry to the EU club.

          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          That might take months, or perhaps even years, to come about.

          It does not make it inherently less likely, just slower.

          1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

            "That might take months, or perhaps even years, to come about.

            It does not make it inherently less likely, just slower."

            So you really do believe that the UK will fail economically outside the EU? Wow. I wonder how Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA are able to survive.

            Seriously dude/dudette: you are wishing yourself into illness. A serious suggestion: you may have some form of depression or anxiety and should talk to someone about it. Folk I know have benefited from this. If not your GP, then maybe a helpline:

            CALM

            CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15-35.

            Website: www.thecalmzone.net

            Depression Alliance

            Charity for sufferers of depression. Has a network of self-help groups.

            Website: www.depressionalliance.org

            Men's Health Forum

            24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.

            Website: www.menshealthforum.org.uk

            Mental Health Foundation

            Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.

            Website: www.mentalhealth.org.uk

            Mind

            Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.

            Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)

            Website: www.mind.org.uk

            No Panic

            Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and OCD. Offers a course to help overcome your phobia/OCD. Includes a helpline.

            Phone: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am-10pm)

            Website: www.nopanic.org.uk

          2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

            Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

            Greece's financial problems are, in the scheme of things, irrelevant to the EU. The Greek economy (and debt) is a rounding error from the perspective of the EU.

            Now if Italy goes down, and needs a fiscal intervention, that's shit hit the fan time.

            But sending troops into Greece? Please. That'd cost waaay more than sending more money and a bunch of German accountants and tax advisors :)

        3. LDS Silver badge

          "when the EU troops enter Greece in order to enforce fiscal austerity"

          You may have missed the bail out ended last August. Still, there are some requirements - but Greece has to become a modern country because it was a non-functioning one. Heck, they couldn't finish a renovated land registry - to avoid tax evasion and dodgy deals.- in eight years. A lot of Greeks know the party is over, and it will far more difficult to make easy money like in the past (while the country sinks), and are not going to accept reforms. Changing rules is easy, changing old bad habits is difficult.

      5. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

        " "There's nothing in any treaty that says we have to turn away imports we need." Depends whether you want to collect the tax revenue and ensure any Syrian migrants aren't hiding in the back of those lorries, I guess. " "

        ? What in the world about Brexit will stop the Border Control from checking lorries? Is that some kind of WTO thing? No, didn't think so.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

          What in the world about Brexit will stop the Border Control from checking lorries? Is that some kind of WTO thing? No, didn't think so.

          Time will stop customs from checking lorries. It has been calculated that a 2 minute delay on the French side will lead to 37 mile tailbacks. However judging from yesterday the French government don't seem particularly willing to waive the rules because UK exceptionalism.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

            Time will stop customs from checking lorries

            -----------------------------------------------------------

            Probably not. As I understand it, under WTO rules, certain checks are mandatory, not optional.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

        "Except we lose all the free trade deals by leaving the EU, but do go on."

        Tip of the iceberg, there.

        IIRC, there are several hundred separate agreements with about 150 countries that only exist by virtue of being in the EU.

        Some of those are trade deals, but the majority are concerned with regulations, standards, and compliance.

        All of them will cease at the end of EU membership or the transition period, whichever lasts longer.

        Lots of them will require renegotiation, no matter how much the run away crowd tell you that they can just be 'rolled over' trivially - for several reasons.

        1. Lots of potential trade partners will see a chance to negotiate with an entity 15% of the size of the EU, in fairly desperate straits, for advantages. The US will want lots of standards lowered. India and Pakistan will want favourable immigration rules. New Zealand will want free trade in lamb and sheep products, as will Australia. The US will want to sell products that use what are now controlled names for products. Add your own favourites here...

        2. No one will want to commit before they see the EU/UK deal in final form, as it will define both opportunities and benefits, as well as negotiating pressure points and precedents. Without this, no one will know what an agreement with the UK might actually be worth, or what might be achievable from their point of view.

        3. The UK hasn't negotiated trade deals independently for 40 years and has neither the expertise nor the organizational bandwidth to deal with the better part of a thousand agreements expeditiously.

        4. Many deals involve quotas on both imports and exports, now held by the EU. Negotiatinq quota changes given different patterns of consumption or production for various goods will be complex, particularly when the EU is not likely to want to relinquish the quotas it has, and other 'third party' countries will feel likewise, while their internal markets will not welcome competition from additional import quota volumes created out of thin air, while they press for new export quotas to be created.

        If the 'easiest trade deal in history' has been stuck for 18 months, what about the harder 750 or so agreements that will be much more a new thing than just rebuilding an EU/UK framework?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

          And don't forget the terms of many of the EU FTAs mean that if a 3rd party (e.g. the UK) gets better terms than the EU, then the deal gets renegotiated so that the EU get the same terms or better....

        2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

          "The US will want lots of standards lowered. India and Pakistan will want favourable immigration rules. New Zealand will want free trade in lamb and sheep products, as will Australia. The US will want to sell products that use what are now controlled names for products. Add your own favourites here..."

          Indeed, but you only have to give them any of those concessions for concessions in return. You would be rather dumb otherwise.

        3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

          "particularly when the EU is not likely to want to relinquish the quotas it has"

          To be fair the EU has been about as just as they can with these so far. Carving off the UK's share is not an issue for the EU. But it is often opposed by the other parties, who pretty much just want the EU to drop it's quotas in line with the UK leaving, and let the UK renegotiate the quota.

          The EU is not, and probably will not, try and fuck the UK. It's a union, it has rules, and it's not going to break those to let the UK get a half-in arrangement. The UK even wrote many of these rules. That this has been portrayed as a huge UK vs EU battle is bonkers.

          Just wait until the UK has to negotiate with actual "hostile" trade powers. Good job the special relationship is so strong.

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

      @Rupert Fiennes

      I really must congratulate you on your note-perfect impersonation of a Brexiter. Thank you. It was a masterclass of the form.

    4. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

      Not really, it's more like 50/50.

      Try this about "The gold export illusion".

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldEGd0ghNhg

      PS. All EU countries trade as much as they can with the rest of the world, as they should.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

      "There's nothing in any treaty that says we have to turn away imports we need"

      Unfortunately, there is no way to get those things over the border efficiently.

      You could have an ingress lane for regular stuff, and a priority 'no checks' lane for the smugglers, and anyone who doesn't want to spend ten or twenty hours in a queue. Want to guess where everyone will go?

      And a 'no checks line' doesn't really square with 'taking control' or 'controlling immigration'.

      And there are still mandatory checks for some types of goods - agricultural and food, at a minimum.

      And most of the vets who can do the checks for incoming animal products are from the EU.

      And about a third of the (British) truck drivers are from the EU.

      And the trucks, if not elsewhere, will be lined up for tens of hours waiting to get back into the EU to complete the round trip.

      And....

      The idea that you could just wave the trucks through is another Brexidiot's fantasy that they will give you for free along with that cool bridge you can have cheap.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Snigger.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yesterdays news

    EU have just junked "The Chequers Plan", along with the high-tech border solutions

    It's almost like they didn't believe it would work.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Yesterdays news

      The current approach to leaving the EU along with the government's history of managing projects reminds me of this Smith and Jones sketch. Gets closer to the truth every day.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Yesterdays news

      Well the EU have "junked" the Chequers plan on-and-off for the last 2 months according to the Guardian. I don't think we can take 2 lines from a press conference by Tusk as total evidence of that. Or he'd have come out and said that.

      Clearly they're not happy with what May has offered. But the current alternatives are:

      1. We stay in the EU. Maybe, assuming that actually is possible after triggering Article 50 - and that in itself is a legal minefield. The Treaty is not specific - so I suspect it would require a unanimous agreement of all member states.

      2. We join the EEA. In my opinion this is fine, but it's a bit late to do as we've not been negotiating with the EEA. It also means continuing to allow free movement of labour. Which is not so popular. But could be sold if the alternative is no deal. However, the Labour leadership are currently pro-Brexit (probably - Corbyn has been for their entire political career), and I think most politiicans believe that freedom of movement won't fly.

      However if we introduced ID cards and made benefits contributory - so you couldn't claim working tax credits until you'd paid NI for 5 years - then we'd have the tools to make free movement much less disruptive. But that does mean a decade of completely re-writing our benefits system, and a couple of major government IT projects - and both policies would be pretty unpopular.

      3. No deal Brexit. Whatever that means. Tusk himself has offered a free trade deal as an option. But the EU currently say they will not allow Northern Ireland to leave the customs union. And have rejected all suggestions of ways round this other than May's Chequers proposal (which they may be about to reject or not who knows?). I would hope that no British government would allow a foreign power to dictate on an internal border between two parts of our country. And the only correct answer to that question is: Fuck off. But there is fudge that can be done on that, because we already have internal agricultural safety inspections and the like - and there's a sea crossing. But any IT tools we don't build for the whole country half-staying in the Customs Union will have to be built for the Northern Irish border anyway.

      4. Delay everything and re-negotiate from scratch. I don't see that working - and EU negotiations only ever get agreed at 4am the day after the final summit was due to finish. So I don't think that's a flyer. The problems here are political - and must be solved politically.

      1. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

        Re: Yesterdays news

        Regarding 2: the huge majority of EU migrants here are not claiming benefits per se here, although I'm sure a lot are claiming tax credits etc. As you say, rejigging the social security system back to it's original post WW2 "5 years of contributions or you get nothing" state may be worthy, but it's not going to happen quickly. If you want to reduce EU mass immigration of lower paid workers, you would need to do a Lichenstein and invoke Article 112. I doubt that would work either, the EFTA court would probably strike it down anyway.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Yesterdays news

        But the EU currently say they will not allow Northern Ireland to leave the customs union.

        An open border betweern Northern Ireland and the Republic is a requirement of the Good Friday agreement. This has been stated repeatedly all through the process.

        EU negotiations only ever get agreed at 4am the day after the final summit was due to finish

        Matters less this time: the real problem will be getting the member states to ratify any agreement on time. Personally, I think that trying to do this after October won't be possible before the end of March 2019 and that we're essentially seeing the motions that befor an acceptance of the transitional plan becomes inevitable. But no need for a conspiracy theory where incompetence and arrogance are to be found in such abundance.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Yesterdays news

          Charlie Clark,

          I'm not sure on the legislative timing. Quite a lot of this is being agreed at Council of Ministers level, with ratification by the European Parliament. So not all of it needs to be legislated for at national level. In fact probably not that much of it.

          A trade agreement after we leave is in the Commission's competence and pure trade deals can be done without ratification by the member states' Parliaments. The Canada deal was unusual, in being a hybrid deal, and so did. But that part of Brexit isn't being negotiated now, we're only working on the exit agreement - plus some sort of political protocol on what the future trade relationship will be (in outline terms only). That will almost certainly have to do the rounds at national level, as the Canada deal did.

          As for Northern Ireland, an open border is indeed a requirement of the GFA. However I'm pretty sure it's also a breach of the GFA to create a new border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK - which is what the EU is currently insisting upon. That is unacceptable.

          May had already proposed a couple of schemes to get round this, which the EU rejected (while refusing to propose a workable alternative) - and I think the Chequers plan was her idea of a compromise that kept the whole UK in the same situation as NI. If the EU reject that, then nothing short of remaining is acceptable - and I'm not sure that can get through Parliament any easier than hard Brexit would. Which leave us defaulting to Brexit with no agreement and a hard border in Ireland anyway. We won't impose one, but I bet the EU would then ignore the GFA and insist that Ireland did.

          I'm beginning to feel that the Commission have not been negotiating in good faith.

          For example Barnier has been showing a presentation to EU governments on May's Chequers proposal that objects to it because it might be too good for the UK. Not that it's bad for the EU or fails to comply with their red lines, but that it might not be punishing enough.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yesterdays news

            Given that the Tory Brixiteers are slavering at the mouth (and the wallet) to sign a trade deal with the US, the EU will want customs checks in place to prevent being flooded by relabelled products that are banned in the EU.

          2. Nick Kew Silver badge

            Re: Yesterdays news

            which is what the EU is currently insisting upon

            No they're not. It's just one backstop option for them.

            If the UK junks EU standards (very specifically food standards, the big Red Line that has prevented a full free trade agreement with the US over many years), then all that stands between the EU and mass-smuggling of growth-hormone-filled beef is the capacity of the roads and rail between Belfast and Dublin. Or else a proper border with customs checks.

            So no open border unless NI maintains regulatory alignment - or at least equivalence (what happens in the rest of the UK is not the concern of the EU here - hence the particular focus on NI). Which is precisely what the US trade lobbyists (aka brexiteers) absolutely won't stand for.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yesterdays news

            That will almost certainly have to do the rounds at national level, as the Canada deal did.

            * * * *

            Actually, the sub-national level.

            CETA was held up because it had clauses that were not popular with a sub-national parliament representing fewer than 100,000 people, requiring further negotiations and compromises.

            I vaguely recall that something on the order of 35 different national and subnational bodies would have to sign off on a similar deal.

            1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

              Re: Yesterdays news

              "CETA was held up because it had clauses that were not popular with a sub-national parliament representing fewer than 100,000 people"

              That was one of the Belgium governments? Probably one of the communities (which is a government) They aren't sub-national, they are all equal. All seven of them. Witloof engineering at it's finest. It's not an arrangement like the assemblies in Scotland, Wales and NI are, they are fully autonomous governments.

              Yeah, Belgium is mental. Great beer :)

              It's also why Belgium works when it doesn't work.

              Here's someone explaining it far better than me :)

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlwHotpl9DA

          4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Yesterdays news

            So not all of it needs to be legislated for at national level. In fact probably not that much of it.

            That's naive. It's been clear from the start that unanimous agreement of the 27 is required and that any deal will require ratification. Otherwise there would be no push to try and get stuff done by November and then hopefully railroad it through parliaments before the end of March.

            I'm beginning to feel that the Commission have not been negotiating in good faith.

            The Commission has been consistent throughout the period, which is more than be said of the UK, which for about a year had no position on most aspects. Presumably, the idea was that everything could be done at the last minute at a summit as previous compromises with UK concessions have. But this is a very different kind of negotiation and something the UK simply wasn't prepared for.

            Legally, and I suspect also politically, it would have been fine to take the necessary time to prepare for negotiations before asking to leave.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Yesterdays news

              >Legally, and I suspect also politically, it would have been fine to take the necessary time to prepare for negotiations before asking to leave.

              I have never worked out why the very first question in the first session from the UK was a request to stagger Brexit over a longer period with phased withdrawal from parts of the EU and corresponding reductions in payments over say 10 years.

              Lets face it, we can't manage a railway timetable change without the country descending into chaos, never mind a waterfall switchover of this magnitude.

      3. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Yesterdays news

        We join the EEA. In my opinion this is fine, but it's a bit late to do as we've not been negotiating with the EEA.

        Which, as I understand it, is not allowed to start before the UK has actually left the EU, and requires the current EEA members to agree unanimously on letting the UK join. Therefore it's not an option you can decide on beforehand.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yesterdays news

        Well the EU have "junked" the Chequers plan on-and-off for the last 2 months according to the Guardian

        ===

        Actually, the core of the Chequers plan has been clearly deemed impossible for at least a year and a half, and probably two years.

        The EU has never once wavered on the insitence that any deal must respect the integrity of the single market and the indivisibility of the four freedoms.

        The British - politicians, government, advocates for Brexit - have all been ignoring this since day one, hoping that mindless repetition will cause the EU to abandon its fundamental structure and principles.

        Many observers, myself included, must be in awe of the powers of reality denial this displays.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yesterdays news

        Delay everything and re-negotiate from scratch.

        ===

        I really cannot see the EU waiting around indefinitely for the UK to start real negotiations rather than just repeating their wish list for years on end.

        The only way this will fly is if the UK starts by accepting the single market and the four freedoms, or opting for Norway or Canada type deals, up front, so the EU knows it will not necessarily be wasting its time.

  11. katrinab Silver badge
    Facepalm

    How does this work?

    I fill in all the online declarations to say that I've got a lorry-load of books, which have no import taxes, regardless of where they come from. Someone still needs to check the lorry at the border to make sure that it does indeed contain books, and not something else that does have import taxes.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: How does this work?

      If the IP address you use is associated with CarSalesRUs.co.uk, then you may very well get a visit from HMRC.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: How does this work?

      Well there are already schemes in place around the world to do this. I'd assume you don't want to inspect every lorry/container - so I guess you'd have some sort of "trusted importer" system. Where passed inspections mean you get fewer in future - with some random checks to disincentivise cheating.

      It's not like loads of non-compliant Chinese stuff doesn't already get into the EU with CE marks they've put on anyway. Given we have a working legal system, we ought to be able to come up with something better.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: How does this work?

        Yes, sure, but, you still need to drive the lorry past a border police officer, who may or may not decide to stop it and have a look inside.

        If you are driving across one of the 260 border crossings between Northern Ireland and Ireland, the only sign of a border at the moment is a line in the tarmac where it was resurfaced by different highways authorities at different times, then there is no border police officer to wave me past or otherwise.

        1. Nifty

          Re: How does this work?

          Estonia has had a mostly electronic border with Russia for a while now.

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bkfxcx

          All working smoothly.

          A bad case of 'not invented here' syndrome?

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: How does this work?

            There are five road and two rail crossings between Estonia and Russia. There are 260 crossings between Northern Ireland and Ireland. There are currently 135 border crossings in the whole of the EU.

            If you are in for example Gornacarrow, a village in Northern Ireland, and want to go to Belfast, the most direct route along the A3/N54 will take you across the border four times.

            If for example, you are in Clonagore, the next village along the A3/N54 from Gornacarrow, in Ireland, the only way to get by road to other parts of Ireland is via Northern Ireland. Otherwise, you have to walk across some fields, swim across a river, and walk across some more fields.

          2. regadpellagru

            Re: How does this work?

            Another very good example is Switzerland. Surrounded by EU countries but NOT in the EU.

            I've moved a DC from France to Switzerland (actually, 2).

            It worked like this:

            - you need the actual value and descr of all systems, on a proformat invoice sheet

            - you hand over this to a export company

            - your lorry with systems passes customs, is checked

            - if cleared, it passes

            - I think, not sure, there is also a re-invoicing of VAT difference (in case of Switzerland, WAAAY less than in France)

            So, end of the day:

            - more expensive post Brexit (export provider)

            - a hell of a paperwork to do for people that never had to do that in the EU

            - the country with the highest standards (Switzerland, here) needs to maintain a quite sizeable customs force. Switzerland does.

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: How does this work?

        so I guess you'd have some sort of "trusted importer"

        I wonder how that would work on the borderlands of Ireland - Farmers wanting to move hay and animal feed from one part of their farm to another where they straddle the border in some places need to become a licenced importer/exporter now?

        If the Gov wants to solve the Irish border problem, they need to imagine implementing same between Wales and England, and the kind of local community disruption, not start from the English channel mentality.

        Europe has plenty of landborders, I don't doubt the concerns of many European leaders is a little more grounded in that reality than those with an island mentality.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: Farmers wanting to move hay

          Good example... except that Brexiteers will no doubt try and argue that this is a straw man.

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: How does this work?

      Congratulations! You've got a better grasp of this than half the Cabinet and all the ERG. Have you considered standing for high office?

      1. A.P. Veening

        Re: How does this work?

        "Have you considered standing for high office?"

        He's way too smart to do that.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: How does this work?

          He's way too smart to do that.

          Yes, I expect she is.

  12. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    This is an Event Horizon

    Once past it there is no way back... Ever.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: This is an Event Horizon

      > Once past it there is no way back... Ever.

      I suspect that several years after this clusterfuck the UK will re-join.

      This from a German, possibly being the most unpopular post ever, down-votes away! *sniffle*, *sob*

      for (unsigned int i=0; i<100; ++i)

      { printf("I shall not comment on Brexit\n"); }

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is an Event Horizon

        "I suspect that several years after this clusterfuck the UK will re-join"

        ..but without the special EU privileges they currently enjoy.

  13. Forget It
    Coat

    Contactless

    anyone?

  14. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    I love the smell of Roundup in the morning ...

    ... on my breakfast cereal - yes, a free trade agreement with the USA will have us all bleached clean and washed in antibiotics - it will be a clean, weed free life .... might be a bit shorter however.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Loads of tech exists

    Let me say first that I didn't vote leave and my name isn't Boris!

    Instead I spent a lot of time as an architect in retail, logistics and manufacturing and can say that loads of the tech and concepts exist already,not in new tech but in old tech, and we have been making supply chains as frictionless as possible for decades. Business to business is not dissimilar to inter-country in respect of the trust between parties, data sharing and available tech.

    We have been using EDI to submit delivery manifests for years along with the concept of trusted suppliers (who don't get checked often), there are processes to handle errors, and systems to host EDI submissions for small suppliers to key or integrate details if they don't have a full EDI capability. Better yet take the standard and turn it into an API.

    When shipping to places including some in the EU we still needed to produce manifests using packages like export/duty master or oracle imports modules which it's not hard to integrate with EDI or an API. Because EDI uses standards like EDIFACT, integration is simple and a standard feature in most cots packages. This approach could reduce processing time by providing a digital data source that we can compare against others to identify discrepancies.

    From a fraud detection point of view it's a case of using the data available and capturing a bit more where we can.

    Use GDSN (already a available from GS1) or API's to look up item details such as weights and dimensions including packaging hierarchies and sub-container structure and ID the vehicles via a combo of image recognition and ANPR to get weights and dimensions from DVLA and their European equivalents' data. There are loads of data sources and standards out there that can help. If necessary regulate the standards. If the UK want to move away from EU standards on a product make sure it is given a new GTIN to distinguish it.

    Goods weight = gross weight - vehicle weight - variance for passengers, personal effects and fuel. Cameras connected to the Azure face API could Id the number of passengers and use an average weight. Same for dimensions. A few off the shelf and non intrusive drive over scales on the roads could Id the vehicle weight and ANPR from cameras including cctv and speed cameras could check vehicles head for their intended destination, Google have some great image recognition and text identification APIs on their cloud platform.

    From these alone you can derive a lot of measures that could highlight where suspect cases are occurring, which can be integrated into a CRM system as cases to check, and rules can be run and managed in a Quality Assurance system like the module in Oracle EBS. It would probably need random QA sampling, which we have also been doing for years and which could be done at, or away from the border and is a standard feature of most cots packages. Or you could employ a hmrc regulated officer in major companies depots to check goods, similar to garages having an approved MOT tester in their employ.

    Some categories of goods may need to be checked if they are too light to identify. Devices to measure inbound weights and dimensions exist today and are used in supply chains to verify some characteristic of the stock. I don't think HMRC open every bottle of champagne they see to check it is what it should be and the checks need to be good enough.

    Other fraud id opportunities include checking the money which changes hands. If HMRC subscribed to the invoices suppliers EDI to one another and cross referenced them against other info they could ID discrepancies. Other data sources can give market rates for goods to check that the values are within tolerances and overpriced water is not really duty avoiding vodka. If France can mandate a national GL structure across every business in the country I think we could manage to audit a few already standardised invoices.

    We also used to lock our trailers to check they had not been opened which used an incrementing number to which all update events were tracked and there is tech to capture this info and it is pretty standard to log the events - just like most home smart locks do. If you want to play with newer tech then blockchain could be used to audit and verify the integrity of the lock and unlock records. This could be made mandatory for all intra EU via UK traffic to alleviate the concerns of the 27.

    All of the tech to do all this and more exists already, and whilst it would not remove the need for manual checks it would reduce it - and by having standardised transparent reporting between the UK and EU it would provide the means to audit and assure.

    And by reusing existing tech businesses have already such as EDI instead of bespoke customs declarations it would probably save businesses the lions share of the 700 million cost to business and hundreds of millions cost to HMRC estimates by not needing every importer in the country to maintain separate tech stacks or HMRC to build a bespoke system when there are plenty already available.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Loads of tech exists

      We don't doubt that lots of tech exists.

      But it can never be the solution to the NI border. Tech can serve to implement a solution, but there has first to be a political solution to implement.

      They can't agree a political solution because the EU's red line is the integrity of its standards such as food safety, and the brexiteers red line is NOT to be bound by any such standards.

      1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: Loads of tech exists

        "the EU's red line is the integrity of its standards such as food safety, and the brexiteers red line is NOT to be bound by any such standards."

        Brexiteers who don't want to export to an EU country shall not be bound by those standards. Is that not fair enough? Just like the Chinese companies that export to the EU are happy to adhere to those standards for those exports. Or doe that just blow your mind?

        The world trades WITH the EU... WITHOUT being a member of the EU.

    2. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: Loads of tech exists

      Lovely. Can you guarantee that all this tech is ready to be deployed in the face of a resistant bureaucracy such as the EU and in a place as sensitive as the internal Irish border with its many points of access, before March next year is out?

      Proposals such as saying the checks won't happen at the border but at some other location beyond the border don't really wash as all this is doing is moving the border a bit further away. It's still a border wherever it is, and the largest problem is entirely out of our control - the EU.

      There is a void of chaos swirling around us and no one has the faintest idea how to fend it off. If I was looking at this from a historical perspective I would be excited by it. From up close - I'm frit.

  16. Geoffrey W Silver badge
    Angel

    I'm British but managed to hop a border years ago so I don't really have a dog in this fight and people sometimes tell me to shut up. I never do. People also tell me that I jumped out of a frying pan and into a bonfire since I now live in Trump-World...but that's another story.

    What I see over there is you are all at the mercy of a Prime Minister who, while often being claimed to be vulnerable and weak, is actually impregnable. She can do whatever she wants, and if what she wants is to screw over all those ungrateful cretins who criticise her then so be it.

    Why is she impregnable? She is impregnable because no one else wants her job At This Time! Mogg and Gove and Boris all understand that Brexit is a poisoned chalice and though they might have designs on leadership, they do not want leadership under these circumstances. Who in their right mind would? Brexit is going to hurt the UK and it's people no matter which way it goes, certainly in the short term, so none of the Three Brexiteers want to be tarnished with that taint and will thus stay outside of it. Far better to stay outside the tent pissing in and say later that if they had been leader things would have been much better for the country, than have their words put to the test.

    So, if I was Theresa May, I would be tempted to hit back at the critics and give the bastards the very worst deal I could out of pure petulance and malice. Hopefully May is a better person than I am. If she isn't then you are, indeed, all fucked.

    Good Luck!

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      I'm in the same boat - the situation in the UK is the same as the US, the political parties are only interested in staying in power - they don't give a damn about their country. Odd that we have an identical mess in both the US and UK ... and that Russia appears to be standing the the background of each political mess. It seems to me that WWIII is being fought on the Internet and we're getting our arses whipped.

    2. snoop-a-doo

      The idea has been floated

      that Boris may decide to launch himself into the premiership on the back of a radical about-face to call off Brexit and "save the nation" before one of his earstwhile colleagues duly does a Brutus on him. So the ERG get to blame Boris for the sabotage, the majority of MPs who were against this nonsense in the first place don't take any heat for having spines of their own and the nation gets to pick up the pieces from the disastrous last couple of years whilst narrowly avoiding a true nightmare. Short of a second referendum followed by a GE (still a possiblity), this would be an acceptable outcome despite the momentary shame of someone competing with Trump for World's Stupidest Leader running Westminster.

  17. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    The Solution: It's as Easy as ABC

    Abandon Brexit Completely

  18. herman Silver badge

    It sounds like Blighty needs to revive some gubmint officials from the 19th century to teach the children how to rule the waves again.

  19. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Trollface

    Try to be positive...

    For example, Tesco have opened a new class of shop for Brexiteers. Full of Union Jacks. And shit.

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