Bri­tain must start plan­ning for a no-deal Brexit

The Sunday Telegraph - - Letters to the editor -

SIR – I strongly agree with Daniel Han­nan (Com­ment, Oc­to­ber 1): Bri­tain should start pre­par­ing now – openly and in a con­crete fash­ion – for the pos­si­bil­ity that we may not reach a mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able deal with the EU over Brexit.

Some, here and across the Chan­nel, may choose to char­ac­terise such ac­tions as show­ing that we ei­ther do not want a deal or that the Gov­ern­ment has no con­fi­dence in its ne­go­ti­at­ing team. Some may even sug­gest that it is a form of threat.

Let them. The pub­lic war of words will not have a last­ing ef­fect on this coun­try; what will neg­a­tively af­fect our long-term in­ter­ests is be­ing ill-pre­pared for the fu­ture.

The Gov­ern­ment can­not say with cer­tainty what the out­come of the cur­rent dis­cus­sions will be. If it fol­lows Mr Han­nan’s ad­vice, how­ever, it can as­sure peo­ple and busi­nesses that, what­ever that out­come, Bri­tain can con­tinue to func­tion. Linda Wal­ton

Great Mis­senden, Buck­ing­hamshire SIR – The ad­mirable Christo­pher Booker (Last Word, Oc­to­ber 1) is miss­ing two im­por­tant points about fu­ture trad­ing with the EU.

With­out a Free Trade Agree­ment, this works through Mu­tual Recog­ni­tion Agree­ments. The EU has th­ese with many coun­tries, in­clud­ing Aus­tralia, Canada, Ja­pan and the US.

To avoid the pa­per moun­tain delays on cross-bor­der trade which Mr Booker fears, coun­tries reg­is­ter as Autho­rised Eco­nomic Op­er­a­tors (AEOs). Presently, reg­is­tra­tion comes to Bri­tain through the EU. But the AEO sys­tem is not in the gift of the EU – it’s ar­ranged by the World Cus­toms Or­gan­i­sa­tion, ad­min­is­tered here by HMRC, so it is to them that we shall turn for con­tin­u­a­tion of the present cus­toms ar­range­ments.

Fur­ther­more, un­der the WTO’s Trade Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Agree­ment, the EU must pro­vide for elec­tronic pre­sub­mis­sion of cus­toms doc­u­ments – a full legal obli­ga­tion it can’t avoid. Rob White Lon­don N3

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