BBC reports that attempts to keep the UK in the European Economic Area after Brexit have been defeated in the House of Commons, amid a major Labour revolt over the issue.

MPs reversed a move to retain the UK’s EEA links after it leaves the EU next year, which had been backed by the House of Lords, by 327 votes to 126.

Jeremy Corbyn urged his MPs to abstain but 75 voted for and 15 against, while six quit their frontbench roles.

MPs overturned six further amendments inserted into key legislation by peers.

Supporters of the EEA argue it would give the UK the closest possible relationship with the EU without actually being a member, as it would offer full access to the single market.

But critics say it would require the UK to adhere to EU rules without having a say in them – and would not be in keeping with the spirit of the 2016 referendum result.

All members of the EU also belong to the EEA, alongside non-EU countries Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

In return for market access, the latter are obliged to make a financial contribution and accept the majority of EU laws. The free movement of people also applies in the zone as it does in the EU.

The government won the EEA vote comfortably after Labour abstained, although three Tory MPs, Ken Clarke, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve, rebelled themselves and backed the motion.

Source: BBC News

The leaders of the world’s largest economies are at each others’ throats over tariffs. Should they be?

The leaders of the world’s largest economies are at each others’ throats over tariffs. Should they be?

President Donald Trump has complained about tariffs on American products while imposing, or threatening, new ones on imports. Key trading partners are responding with retaliatory tariffs of their own.

But experts say the emphasis on tariffs — essentially taxes on global trade — is misplaced.

“There is a strong risk of overstating the importance of tariffs … many other things matter as well,” said Sean Doherty, head of international trade and investment at the World Economic Forum.

Two key numbers to consider: Trade negotiations conducted over decades have helped push the average global tariff down to just 2.9%, according to the latest data from the World Bank. That’s close to the record low of 2.7% set in 2010.

The average is calculated by adding up the value of all tariff revenue generated in a year, and dividing by the value of the imported products.

David Henig, a former trade negotiator from the United Kingdom who worked on trade talks with the United States, said that obsessing over tariffs on goods is “completely bizarre” because they’re already so low.

Economists say that reducing other barriers to trade, such as regulatory red tape and customs delays, would do much more to ease friction and help economies around the world.

Trump has frequently complained about the European Union’s 10% tariff on cars imported from the United States (cars shipped in the other direction face a 2.5% tariff). But the European Union could complain, too.

The United States charges a 350% tariff on some tobacco imports. Clothing and footwear imports into the United States face tariffs as high as 55%, according to the World Trade Organization.

These surprisingly high tariffs may stop or slow trade in particular industries, but overall, American tariffs are very low. The United States imposes an average tariff on global imported goods of just 1.6%, according to the World Bank.

That’s the same average rate as the European Union.

“It’s just entirely wrong to focus on one sector,” said Gregor Irwin, chief economist at Global Counsel. “There is room for improvement in the EU-US relationship, but it certainly requires concessions on both sides.”

Data from the World Economic Forum show that US goods face tariffs that are slightly higher than most other nations, at 4.9%. But that’s down from 6.1% in 2012, and roughly on par with the tariffs faced by exports from China, Japan, Russia and Brazil.

European Union members face lower average tariffs of 3.5% on their exports.

Experts say the disparity with the United States is a result of multiple factors, including the fact that European countries do a lot of trading with one another. EU membership benefits include zero tariffs, no border issues and coordinated internal regulations.

Trade experts say that worries over small rate differences miss the bigger point.

“A couple percent on tariffs tend to fade in importance compared to these administrative and regulatory-type [trade] barriers,” said Doherty.

In an effort to level what he considers an uneven playing field for trade, Trump has turned to tariffs.

His administration has imposed tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels, hitting South Korea and China. He’s also used tariffs to target billions of dollars worth of incoming shipments of steel and aluminum, most recently from the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

There are signs that foreign cars could be next in line for a tariff increase.

The moves could cause historically low average tariff levels to rise as countries feel compelled to retaliate, thus raising costs for businesses and consumers. The European Union, Canada and Mexico are each preparing to retaliate over the metals tariffs.

Anastassia Beliakova, head of trade policy at the British Chamber of Commerce, said that tariffs and anti-dumping measures that the US government has imposed could yield immediate effects that “may appeal to Mr. Trump,” but are not the answer.

“Addressing [non-tariff trade] barriers in another market can take a much longer time to remove and require a much more sustained dialogue, but could lead to greater gains in very specific areas,” she said.

Source: CNN/Alanna Petroff

For us in KGH it is important to be a part of the dialogue when the future of trade is defined. This is why we are a partner to and a sponsor of the Global Trade Devlopment Week. Now in Shanghai, China for the first time.

This is one of the best platforms to shape the future. We need you and your voice there too.

China’s Belt and Road campaign could increase global trade by as much as 12 percent by halving trading costs for countries involved in the sprawling initiative, according to an economist at ING Groep NV.

The BRI will have a significant impact on transport and trade facilitation expenses, both of which are large factors in final trading costs, Joanna Konings, senior economist for international trade analysis with ING in Holland, said in a June 6 report.

“Trade between Asia and Europe, not including trade between EU countries, accounts for 28 percent of world trade, so making those trade flows easier has a large potential impact,” Konings said in the report. “The size of this impact depends on the sensitivity of trade to changes in relative costs.”

In her analysis, Konings considered three scenarios which vary the number of countries affected by the initiative, while assuming a 50 percent drop in costs. In the most conservative case, which includes only countries along the Eurasian economic corridor – China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland — the plan will boost global trade by 4 percent.

In the most optimistic scenario involving both BRI countries and their partners, nations in central Asia and eastern Europe would see the biggest increases. Trade for Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Nepal and Myanmar would rise by an estimated 35 percent to 45 percent, while China would see its trade jump by about 20 percent.

The most important variable, however, is how fast trading costs fall, and that is dependent on how long the BRI policy exists, according to Konings. Projects currently under construction are expected to be finished in the next five years, with more likely to be announced. As a result, costs will likely take anywhere from five to 10 years to fall, Konings wrote.

“If trade costs are slow to fall, effects on world trade growth will be small in any given year,” she said. However “significant falls in trade costs, even over a long period, could lead to large impacts on international trade.”

Source: Bloomberg

I am working in the wirld of customs, borders and global trade. I have done so the last 35 years. I have always been fascinated by the dynamic complexity of global trade as well as the underworld trying to exploit it.

We know today that development of trade is the best way to develop our societies. Trade creates jobs, growth and opportunities for people to rise from poverty. Trade fosters cooperation, friendships.

At the same time we also know that international cross-border crime acknowledge no borders.

Finding models to enable fair and inclusive world trade while at the same time fighting international crime is what makes me travel the world every day, week and year.

My work has taken me around the world, many times. I don’t like being away, not more than anybody else. But the world is out there. Waiting for advise. So I go. To help, to support and to fix things.

My profession has taken me to 169 countries to date. I have learned something new on every one of those trips. Travelling and working abroad is about learning.

Life is learning, learning is life.

As long as people need my advise I will continue to contribute. This is my my life, to save the world, a little bit. My way.

This photo from the G7 meeting in Canada is great. All these men listeneing to the only woman preee t. It is not difficult to see who people listen to in this group.

Chancellot Angela Merkel has for 13 years successfully lead the storrongest country and economy of Euorope. It is hard not to be impressed.