Boris Johnson repeatedly comments that without a deal the UK would move to an Australian-style arrangement with the EU.
This is a highly disingenuous statement, as while Australia does not have a free trade agreement in place with Brussels, it does have a series of around a dozen agreements on trade and other areas. It has, for example, agreements with the EU on the peaceful use of nuclear energy and scientific co-operation.
The pair also have a “mutual recognition agreement” so there is acceptance of each other’s safety certificates and product markings. Australia also negotiated an agreement on the trade of wine, a huge Australian export, in 2008.
Other arrangements are also in place to help combat crime and terrorism and to allow the exchange of classified information. The UK would enjoy none of these in the event of a no deal.
It should also be noted that the UK and the EU trade far more with each other, given their proximity, than Europe and Australia do. The UK, for example, trades more than half of its goods into Europe, compared with just 11% for the southern hemisphere country.
Cross-Channel trade is also a more varied range of mainly complex manufactured goods, compared with Australia’s exports which are focused on raw materials.
If there is to be a no deal, the UK would wholly follow WTO rules, with all the challenges that brings. This includes tariffs being placed on many goods traded between the UK and the EU, in addition to some quota restrictions and customs checks.
A little knowledge
Like Moreen Simpson (EE, Dec 11) I remember the queue for the polio vaccine, but in Yorkshire, the queue was in school as the vaccine was organised and delivered by the nit nurse.
I knew some lad, who had been on an iron lung, survived but came back to school with callipers on his legs.
I also remember another boy going to a sanitarium for TB and the lines for the TB test.
Killer diseases were tamed somewhat over time, but you now hear of people advising others not to take the vaccine for a killer disease that has emerged.
I’m no medical professional and couldn’t advise anyone what to do, but I wonder where we would be if these half-educated folk had been around in the 1950s.
As the saying goes, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.