Johnson Establishes a One-Sided Brexit Trade Border

Written by SK Ashby

Fearing higher prices and shortages of food and medicine, among other things, the British government has suspended checks on imports from the European Union through the rest of this year, but the European Union has not taken similar steps. British goods are still subject to checks.

Following last week's move, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government has established a one-sided, post-Brexit trade border that negates the rhetoric and some demands made by British officials during Brexit negotiations.

Johnson himself has repeatedly said Britain must reclaim their sovereignty, or whatever, but the Brexit is more or less unilateral at this point -- with Britain isolating itself -- and British exporters aren't very happy about it.

Take Steve Howell’s Foodlynx. The firm, which sells British bacon and sausages to hotels and resorts across the EU, has suffered weeks-long delays to shipments since Brexit and spent thousands of pounds on customs fees. After the government’s move on Thursday, EU firms will be able to sell their goods into Britain unimpeded until January.

“My reaction is absolute dismay,” said Howell, whose products are mostly gobbled up by British expats and holidaymakers. “I can’t believe they could be so stupid to kill U.K. exports, but allow free rein into our country from the EU.” [...]

“Postponing import checks hands a cost and administration advantage to foreign businesses,” said James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce. “The damage to our economy is of real concern.”

Whatever the opposite of having your cake and eating it too is, this is that. This is like having cake but watching someone else eat it.

I don't believe checks on European goods will ever come back because the conditions that necessitated the suspension will still be in place next January. Britain will still depend on imports for many things and especially food.

If you accept the premise that the Brexit was mostly about racism immigration , not economics, then it's easier to understand why Johnson's government would push through the Brexit and then abandon one of the key economic components of it. It's not too hard to imagine a near future and status quo in which most of the economic goals of the Brexit are forgotten or chipped away and what's left intact are just controls on the movement of people and labor from the European mainland.

I'm trying to think of a major policy imitative more hollow than the Brexit and I'm coming up empty.