Welcome to 2020, the year of the trade deal. To reassure readers here are the 10 steps we have identified that take place in most international trade deals:
1. Bellicosity: Declare or threaten a trade war with one or more of your biggest trading partners. Cancel all current deals, introduce import and export bans, tariffs and quotas;
2. Grandstand: Agree to agree that the new trade deal will be the greatest ever agreed;
3. Posture: Declare Red Lines, demand acceptance of ‘our’ standards and other rhetoric;
4. Set up trade talks: mobilise an army of specialists, diplomats and negotiators;
5. Talks 1: Tariffs and Quotas. The easy bit, stand by for headlines;
6. Talks 2: Technical standards. The hard and boring part but really important. Will your machines work from our electricity if we import them?
7. Talks 3: The Opaque bit. The trade-offs. Will you take our rubbish if we take yours?
8. Secure political endorsement and legal approval. Big headlines, the deal of the century.
9. All live happily ever after, it has only taken 10 years to get to this point.
10. Bellicosity – see Step One.
Of course it may not take ten years; it may take more or less. Step one has historically been very much optional, but seems to have taken on greater importance in recent years. Bear these 10 points in mind as you watch the progress of trade deals in 2010 – they may help to make sense of it all.
And meanwhile best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2020.
#RuBrief returns this Friday with an update on compulsory purchase and there is still time to benefit from our season ticket offer for the year: http://syncskills.net/rubrief/ for all the details.