Yesterday I presented my academic research study, ‘SmartBorder 2.0 – Avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland for Csuustoms control and free movement of people’ to the European Parliament in Brussels.

In the Parliment

It was the EP Constitutional Committe that had commissioned a report from me and similar reports from two other researchers, Dr. John Temple Lang and the team Dr. David Phinnemore/Dr. Katy Hayward.

My report, you can read it if you click on the link below

Dr. Temple Langs report is covering ‘Brexit and Ireland – Legal, Political and Wconomic Consideration’ and Dr. Phinnemore/De. Haywards report is concentrating on ‘UK Withdrawel and the Good Friday Agreement’.

So while my fellow research colleagues did more political, policy, legal and macro-economic research, I did my study on how to actually design and construct a functional future technical Customs border management model, an ‘invisable border’.

I took a more practical approach since there have been little or no discussion so far about the technical solutions in the debate.

The idea of the SmartBorder 2.0 solution is to use international standards, operational best practices (upgraded to better practices) and stats-of-the-art technology – moving the border formalities to pre/post activities based on a new modern trusted trader/trusted traveller programme, exchange of risk data, processing in a one-stop-shop Single wlndow (utilizing UCR) and technical identification/monitoring/surveillance in combination with pre-conditioned border crossings, with no duplications and joint mobile control teams. We are not talking of massive infrastructure implementations, like houses and border crossings – but some high-tech equipment making it possible to install almost frictionless borders.

I have designed this SmartBorder 2.0 concept and we in KGH have developed operational modules that together can be used as a SmartBorder 2.0 model. This is real, not science-fiction for the future.

In fact, most of the modules we have developed in this context have also been tested or implemented in operational environments in different parts of the world. There is a need for further development, adjustment and integration – naturally – but it works.

At the European Parliament hearing

In my study I used the borders of Sweden-Norway, United States-Canada and Australia-New Zealand as examples for the model.

I was very clear at the hearing, and I want to underline it here as well – that neither of these solutions is a perfect exeample on what needs to be implemented on the Ireland-Northern Ireland border (or other borders between EU and UK). These borders are developed for other environments.

However, all these examples have Customs and border management elements and components that could be used for a SmartBorder 2.0 solution on the Ireland/NI border and other EU-UK borders. The components needs to be further developed and fully integrated to get an ‘invisable border’.

The Sweden-Norway is the most advanced border in the world from a conceptual perspective and it should in my opinion for several reasons (explained in the report) be used as basis for the new UK-EU border – but it is not perfect, and not fully utilizing all the potential of the model itself. The model and solution there can’t be directly transferred to another place. This is important to undeline. Some people misundestand that fact, deliberately or non-deliberately.

My point is that differences between the Sweden-Norway border model and new potential applications in other environments, like e.g. the Ireland-Northern Ireland example, can be mitigated by a number of development actions and new technical components, like a new trusted trader programme, a new trusted traveller scheme and different approach to security and safety.

I am talking about re-using the Customs cooperation model, the one-stop-shop, the Single Window experince, the advanced data exchange model and the operational agency model at both side of the border – just to give a few examples. There are also a number of -previously successful test pilots of even more advanced applications st the same border like e.g. The Gateway Concept and Green Corridor that easily could be adopted to work in this new context.

Naturally the Ireland-Northern Ireland border has its own challenges, history and environment, but I am convinced that it is possible to design, develop and implement a SmetBorder 2.0 solution on this border.

In addition, the Swedish-Norway border is a SmartBorder solution on an outer third country border of EU, that is already adopted, accepted, tested and operationally functional, thus very suitable to serve as example for EU-UK modelling. Especially since international institutions like the World Bank (and others) still considers it to be the fastest, safest and best border model in the world.

Some people argue that Norway has a different status in relation to EU than maybe UK will have. That is true and possible, but what is then ignored is that it has no impact on the border management model and concept since it needs to be there to handle any scenario, regardless of present or future trade policies.

It is always interesting to have a dialogue with engaged people

As I said in Brussels at the hearing, we need to acknowledge that when a country leave a Customs Union and its Customs territory, a border will be re-instated. The border is a common border and it needs to be managed, for a wide range of reasons (including tax/duty collection, security, safety, trade policy, national priorities, to regulate goods from outside both customs territories with different status etc, just to mention a few out of many). The key is to manage such a border with maximum security and minimal interference with the movement of goods and people in an interlinked and integrated economy and business environment.

The technical operational model should be negotiation neutral, meaning a solution must be able to handle any outcome of the negotitions. In addition the model needs to be scalable and to a large extent re-usable on other borders, since it is very difficult and extremely challenging to operate several different border solutions for a country (or in this case a country and another country/region/union).

Is it possible to do? Yes. Should we do it? Absolutely.

Interesting posting from MEP on social media

Some people argue that the cost would be high, but I can assure you that having a detailed look at a cost-benefit calculation for the design, development and implementation of a SmartBorder 2.0 solution – in relation to the costs and consequences of NOT having such a solution in place – will be one of the best business cases ever seen.

In fact it is possible to re-use already exisiting infrastructure, like mobile networks etc for some parts of this model keeping the costs reasonable and the tecjnology isn’t that expensive any more. The options are many.

It is also interesting to note that even though my report was the only technical one leaving the political elements out of this specific study – it was still the report that attracted most political attention in media.

This was not my intention. I wanted to show that it is possible to use the knowledge, experience and technical skills we have today to create a technical border solution that can handle the situation – regardless the politics. I am naturally aware of the specific circumstances on Ireland that need to be addressed, but I want to show that there are alternatives on ghe technical level to handle different scenarios.

Article in The Express

Read the article here: The Express: “Not rocket science” sayd expert.

Article on BBC News

Read the article here: BBC on Frictionless Borders

In summary it is important to note that it has been extremely to work on this project over the last months. I have had many contacts with other Brexit experts and various professionals to develop this model and to present it in this report as a practical alternative to political debate. The proposal is based on a lifetime in this field, especially Customs and Border reform and modernization on global, regional and local level – having visited 169 countries, worked in more than 120 of these countries and seen more than 700 borders. Yes, I do count. Together with new learning and knowledge from many others, colleagues and professionals, this is my first contribution to the Brexit challange. It will not be the last.

You can find my report here, published on the EU domain: EU Parliament Constitutional Committee Lars Karlsson SmartBorder 2.0 Report Brexit

Britain needs a new trade deal with the EU. At leadt according to this article from CNN.

If it fails to secure one as part of divorce talks with Brussels, a study published Tuesday predicts that higher prices will cost British households an extra £260 ($345) a year.

The study, produced by the U.K. Trade Policy Observatory and the Resolution Foundation, predicts that 3 million of the hardest-hit families will have to fork out over £500 ($664).

Failing to agree a new trade relationship before leaving the EU in March 2019 would force Britain to trade under rules set by the World Trade Organization.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly said that “no deal is better than bad deal.” But many business groups and many economists disagree.

“The government must rightly continue to prioritize a comprehensive new trade agreement with the EU in order to avoid households having to fork out for a ‘no deal’ outcome,” said Stephen Clarke, an economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation.

The study found that tariffs on dairy products imported from the EU would rise by 45% if no deal is struck, while those on meat products would spike 37%. Clothing, footwear, beverages and tobacco would all see tariff increases of 10%.

The tariffs would translate to price hikes: dairy goods would cost 8% more in Britain, while meat prices would spike by 6%.

Even basic ingredients involve complex supply chains, making them pricier as tariffs accumulate.

Grocers have also warned of price hikes. David Tyler, the chairman of supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, told The Sunday Times that he expects average tariffs of 22% on EU foods.

“The U.K. government must realize that walking away from the negotiating table is the worst possible outcome,” said Ilona Serwicka, a research fellow at the U.K. Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex.

Prices have already gone up in Britain because of the sharp drop in the value of the pound, which has declined 12% against the dollar since the vote in June 2016.

Data published Tuesday showed annual inflation in September was the highest it has been in more than five years.

“Inflation rising up to 3% in September very much keeps the squeeze on consumers, as it undoubtedly marked another month of negative real income growth,” said Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club.

May hopes to negotiate a “transitional period” of roughly two years after leaving the EU, during which current terms of trade would be maintained. Businesses say a transition is needed to protect the British economy from the shock of a clean break.

The EU says that sufficient progress must be made on the divorce settlement before future terms of trade with Britain are discussed. Negotiations appear to be at a standstill, however.

Goods and services worth over £500 billion ($656 billion) a year are currently traded between Britain and the EU.

Source: CNN

I have always loved giving speeches and making presentations. It is one of my favourite moments in life. I have made presentations all around the world, the more people in the audience the better. I have spoken om fromt of 2500 people in Lissabon and 3000 in Shanghai. Loved it.

However I also know that some people hate it.

Bernard Marr has written some advise on speeches that I fully endorse.

Did you know more people fear public speaking than death? Perhaps fear is what causes people to default to unhelpful and filler comments during a presentation. I do a lot of public speaking and go to many events each month and over time I have picked up some things people say during their presentations that I believe you should avoid. While I can’t help you knock out the fear, here are my top 11 things to not say during a presentation.

1. “I’ll keep this short.”

First, if you say this, nobody will believe you. Second, if your presentation is informative and inspiring, length really doesn’t matter.

2. “I have a lot of information to go over.”

Note: This is NOT how to get your audience excited about your presentation. Warning your audience that you have a lot of information to go over induces immediate yawns.

3. “Hello, can you hear me?”

Test out the audio well before your audience arrives. You should already know that yes, in fact, your audience can hear you because you and the tech gurus tested it before your audience arrived.

4. “I didn’t have much time to prepare.”

And now you want them to hang on your every word? It’s not going to happen with such an uninspiring intro. You’re also disrespecting the attendees’ time by telling them that you aren’t bringing them your best.

5. “And these are my colleagues”

While it is admirable to show who else is on your team and who you work with, but a one-after-one intro is always welcome, you don’t really need to let the cat out of the bag about your nerves. It can cause people to prejudge your presentation and tune out.

6. “Um, I’ll have to read this slide to you because the font is really small.”

Presentation slides shouldn’t have dense text on them, nor should you read slides to the audience. And, you should always practice your presentation and know in advance of giving it live that there are problems with the visuals you plan to use.

7. “Um” and other filler words

This is certainly a hard habit to break, but practice makes perfect to eliminate filler words such as “uh,” “like” and “you know” from your presentation. They distract from your delivery.

8. “I’m very tired” or another excuse

Never start your presentation with an excuse. The audience just wants to get your very best, whatever that is for you on that day.

9. “Don’t take notes. I’ll post the presentation online later.”

Thank you for making the presentation available to others later, but it’s not your place to police how people interact with your presentation. It’s possible that they want to write down a thought that occurred to them as you present. Allow them to write, doodle, take pictures or notes to their heart’s content.

10. “I’m out of time, but I’ll just run through these 12 slides really fast.”

Worthwhile or waste of time? I say it’s the latter. Practice is key to avoiding this situation. Remember, focus on your message and make sure you deliver it. Getting through all the slides is not a requirement if you give the audience what they need to receive your message.

11. “Any questions?”

You should control the close, and it should not be an open invite for your audience to ask questions. Often they won’t have any or they won’t be on point with the lasting impression you want them to walk away with. You can ask for questions at other points in your presentation, but save the last comment for you to close and close strong with your most important point.

I hope next time you give a presentation, you avoid saying these 11 things. What have you heard people say time and time again when giving presentations that you wish the presenters would avoid?

House of Commons has last Friday, 17 November, published a paper on ‘Ways and Means resolution on the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) bill’.

The summary says that the paper was prepared for the Ways and Means resolutions relating to the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill. These resolutions are before the House of Commons on Monday 20 November 2017. Ways and Means resolutions The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill

The Government has announced its intention to bring in a customs bill – the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill. This will include measures relating to customs, VAT and excise.

The Government set out its approach to customs in a position paper, Future customs arrangements, published in August. A Customs White Paper was published in October. The Government has already published a Trade Bill which contains provisions on areas closely related to those in this Bill. Most law relating to customs is contained the EU’s Union Customs Code (UCC) and its delegated and implementing acts. The UCC is an EU Regulation which is directly applicable in the UK. EU law also provides the framework for VAT and excise rules. The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill will allow the UK to operate a standalone customs, VAT and excise system after Brexit. Legislation is needed regardless of whether the UK reaches an agreement with the EU on customs. The Bill will allow for the possibility of no deal being reached.

The Customs White Paper said that the Bill will include a number of delegated powers. Customs are particularly relevant to trade across the Irish border. The Government has said it wishes to avoid physical border infrastructure, such as border posts. No agreement has yet been reached with the EU about how this can be achieved.

Sweden is for the loment ranked as number 18 in the world by FIFA.

Some people were surprised that Sweden beat Italy in the play-offs for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in soccer that will take place in Russia next summer. They shouldn’t be. Sweden has a new generation of players on the way.

This team has now beaten France, Italy and Portugal and it knocked out, not only Italy, but also Netherlands from the World Cup.

However, many of the players have already won tournaments.

This team of Sweden became European Champions in the 2015 UEFA U-21 European Cup after beating France, Germany, England, Italy, Denmark and Portugal.

In the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup Sweden finished in third place after beating Argentina with 4–1 in the third-place match.

And there are even more extremely talented players on the way up, like e.g 18 year old Alexander Isak playing forst team football for Borussia Dortmund and 18-year old Joel Asoro playing for Sunderland that made his first Premiere League start being only16 years old.

in addition Matthias Svedberg, born 99, a highly gifted midfielder.

So you can expect even more success for the Swedish national team in the years to come,

Artificial intelligence, scientific automatic evaluation, algorithmes, risk management engines.

Artificial intelligence is Intelligence displayed by machines, in contrast with the natural intelligence (NI) displayed by humans. The scope of AI is disputed: as machines become increasingly capable, tasks considered as requiring “intelligence” are often removed from the definition, a phenomenon known as the AI effect.We have learned that this is part of our everyday lives already – or have we?

How about Customs and Border precedures? Is there already an element of AI involved? Yes, there is. Our ridk management enegines are getting more and more advanced and algorithmes are used to improve risk profiling and targetting.

This is still not the rule everywhere – but advanced Customs Services have used new technology support the last decade or so.

Today when we design, develop and implement new Risk Management Models for Customs – and we arw doing that in several countries right now – we always base it on a modern Risk Strategy fully utilizing advanced risk management and intelligence tools and instruments.

The supporting software is getting better and better. National Targetting Centers are also developing new advanced profiling models continously.

I am convinced that we are only in the begonming of this development. The following years will bring a revolution that will serve us well.

We are involved in some extremely interesting tests right now which will change the risk paradigm and the enforcement methodology forever.

The bad guys will have a more difficult future.