Original title: Trapped in the “Brexit” sequelae, “Globalized Britain” cannot do what it wants. Source: China Youth Daily
In the vision of British Prime Minister Johnson, the post-Brexit Britain will be a “global Britain”. Maintaining the so-called “UK-US special relationship” will play an important role in this process. Johnson hopes to follow the United States and increase its expansion beyond Europe, in order to hedge against the negative impact of “Brexit” on the United Kingdom in terms of politics, economy, and international influence. However, given that “Brexit” continues to affect British trade, the impasse on the Northern Ireland issue is difficult to break, and the bilateral divergence between the United Kingdom and the United States continues.
Recently, over the issue of evacuation of overseas Chinese from Afghanistan, Britain and the United States have fought a “war of words”, “who is responsible for the chaotic evacuation” and attacked each other. In an attempt to “repair the tension between the two countries,” Johnson recently confirmed that he will go to the White House to meet with U.S. President Biden at the end of September. However, the British “Guardian” published an article that “the relationship between Britain and the United States is very different from that in March this year.” The defense and foreign policy evaluation report of the “Global Britain in the Age of Competition” published by the United Kingdom in March this year stated that “The relationship with the United States is the most important bilateral relationship between the United Kingdom”, but the 100-page report at that time hardly mentioned anything. In Afghanistan, there was no warning about possible changes in the situation in Afghanistan. However, the United States announced its withdrawal from Afghanistan in April, which caught its allies by surprise and faced a series of thorny issues.
Some politicians and related persons in the United States hold different views on the underlying reasons for the deadlock in the “UK-US special relationship”. Brett Brun, who served as the director of global affairs during the Obama administration, pointed out that the candidate of the US ambassador to the UK has not yet been confirmed. The US-UK free trade agreement that Biden promised Johnson to reach before Britain’s “Brexit” is still far away. This shows that Biden “does not care” about the UK.
The British “Daily Express” reported on September 12 that a businessman who has business dealings with the governments of the two countries reported that the relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States is at a low point, and that the Johnson government and the United Kingdom are still struggling in the “Brexit” quagmire is an important factor. .
The issue of Northern Ireland has always been the focus of trade disputes between the UK and the EU after Brexit. Because of his Irish descent, Biden has repeatedly asked the border between Britain and Ireland to remain open, and once used this to put pressure on Johnson. In accordance with the “Northern Ireland Protocol” reached in the UK’s “Brexit” negotiations, Northern Ireland will remain in the European Single Market and the EU Customs Union to prevent a land-based “hard border” from appearing on the island of Ireland. Commodities entering Northern Ireland are subject to maritime customs clearance inspection. The United Kingdom has been unable to fully comply with the contract due to concerns about the trade obstacles caused by this.
So far, no agreement has been reached between Britain and the EU on avoiding trade barriers in Northern Ireland. The “Protocol”, which was supposed to take effect on June 30, was postponed again in early September. Frost, the chief representative of the UK’s “Brexit” negotiations, claimed that this was to bring more “certainty” and “stability” to business, and his excuses attracted many criticisms. CNN commented on September 12 that the Johnson administration once praised the “Brexit” agreement as a “great victory”, but now he is refusing to implement the “critical part” of the “Brexit” agreement. .
The British economy is still struggling in difficulties. Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics of the United Kingdom on September 10 showed that the British economy barely grew in July, and the gross domestic product (GDP) grew by only 0.1% month-on-month. The EU press release on September 8 stated that EU exports to the UK fell by 3.2% in the second quarter of this year. Statistics from the German Federal Statistical Office show that in the first six months of this year, Germany’s imports from the UK fell by nearly 11% year-on-year to as low as 16.1 billion euros. This means that the UK will lose its status as one of Germany’s top ten trading partners this year. This will be the first time since 1950.
Since January 1 this year, the UK has officially withdrew from the European Single Market and the EU Customs Union. Although according to the agreement reached between the UK and Europe, the two sides continue to enjoy zero tariff and zero quota treatment for merchandise trade, temporarily avoiding a significant increase in trade costs, but the new border inspection costs, document preparation and customs clearance delays have reinvigorated the UK After the epidemic, the economy has added new obstacles.
According to data released by the British Revenue and Customs Administration, the tariffs paid by British companies have soared from 1.6 billion pounds in the first half of last year to a record 2.2 billion pounds in the same period this year. According to the “Rules of Origin” in the Anglo-Europe Agreement, only products originating in the United Kingdom or the European Union are eligible for zero-tariff treatment in the counterparty’s market, and companies need to prepare a large number of documents to provide “full proof” for this. After weighing the pros and cons, some companies finally had to choose to pay tariffs for the sake of trade convenience. This is particularly hitting British SMEs. According to statistics from the British Small and Medium Enterprises Association (FSB), 11% of British exporters are considering permanently stopping exports to the European market. Gabriel Fellbemell, director of the Institute for World Economics in Kiel, Germany, believes: “The loss of influence in foreign trade by the United Kingdom is an inevitable result of its’Brexit’, and this influence may be lasting.”
In addition to supply chain issues, the National Bureau of Statistics of the United Kingdom stated that labor shortages are also an important reason for the hindrance of production in the United Kingdom. The British National Pig Association pointed out on September 7 that due to a severe shortage of slaughterhouse workers, British farms now have a backlog of more than 85,000 pigs, and this number is still increasing at a rate of 15,000 per week. The association also said that in the first half of this year, the economic situation of the UK pig industry was the worst in history, with producers losing a total of 116 million pounds.
In addition, a survey released by the British Road Transport Association (RHA) in early September showed that there is currently a shortage of 100,000 truck drivers in the UK, and logistics and transportation are significantly affected by this. Due to the lack of truck drivers, the milk cannot be transported away in time, and the dairy farmers are faced with the dilemma of having to dump the milk. “Financial Times” analysis believes that the mismatch between supply and demand is a long-standing problem in the British labor market, which forces the British government to have to absorb overseas immigrants; but visa policies and immigration policies have always been obstacles. Difficulty of application.
In this regard, the British Department of International Trade explained that “it’s too early to draw conclusions on the long-term impact of our new trade relationship with the EU and the rest of the world due to Brexit.” “We have already worked with 68 countries. A trade agreement worth more than 740 billion pounds was reached with the European Union.” Britain’s re-forging of a new global trade agreement and expanding trade with non-EU countries were once considered the only optimistic aspect after “Brexit”. However, such a vision was also due to the fact that the United Kingdom was forced to enter the Anglo-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Concessions in the negotiations became vain.
On June 15 this year, the United Kingdom announced the first free trade agreement with Australia that went beyond the original trade relationship and negotiated from scratch after “Brexit”. However, no official text was formed at that time, and it was more of a political declaration. . The British side said at the time that the two countries planned to “strengthen cooperation in security, climate change, and technology.” However, a leaked e-mail from a senior cabinet office obtained by the British “Sky News” in early September showed that the United Kingdom agreed to abandon certain commitments in the “Paris Agreement” in order to appease Australia, and then to achieve the Anglo-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Boost. Former Labor Party leader Ed Miliband accused the United Kingdom of becoming one of the world’s most polluting countries. The former Conservative Party Minister of Environment Deben said that Britain has given up its leadership on climate change issues and is betraying its commitments.
In the National Defense and Foreign Policy Evaluation Report in March this year, the United Kingdom once stated that it will establish the country’s top international tasks for the next 10 years to address climate change and protect biodiversity. In November this year, the United Kingdom will host the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow, urging other countries to reduce emissions.
The analysis believes that, affected by the new crown pneumonia epidemic, the changes and consequences brought by “Brexit” to the UK have not yet been fully revealed. But what is certain is that the negative effects of “Brexit” on British trade have a long-term nature. The political significance of the agreement reached by the UK in the post-“Brexit” era is also far greater than the economic benefits.
In order to demonstrate its “globalization of the UK” strategy, the Johnson administration chose to blindly follow the United States at the expense of its own interests in diplomacy and security, and even sent aircraft carriers to the Asia-Pacific to “show its muscles”. It was more of a mistake in national development and global positioning. Up the direction. When asked a few days ago “whether the withdrawal from Afghanistan shows that Britain has limited power on the world stage”, the British Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace admitted: “It is obvious that Britain is no longer a superpower.”