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Some more granular comments [edited for length] on the fisheries issue plaguing Brexit talks in the latest tweet thread/mini blog from RTE's Tony Connelly:
- The focus now is not on the quota share but on access. All the effort in the past few days has been on the question of access. The UK is demanding more absolute "control" over British waters by having the power to deny EU boats access on an annual basis when it comes to individual species.
- I understand this would be done via an annual negotiation on the Total Allowable Catch (TAC). This is basically the mechanism for determining the total catch of a species [...] and is separate from the "quota share" yet to be divvied up. The EU has an annual TAC negotiation every December [...].
- My understanding is that the UK is pressing for the ability to deny access if there is no agreement on the TAC level or individual species during each annual negotiation. The EU has always resisted an annual TAC negotiation. They have one with Norway, but they only share seven stocks with Norway whereas they share over 100 with the UK. So, if the EU agrees to annual TAC negotitaions this would be a concession.
- At this morning's meeting of EU ambassadors, Barnier appeared to accept the concept of an annual TAC negotiation. But he emphasised that any deal would have to give EU fleets stability and predictability.
- "How do you guarantee predictability, stability, whilst still having annual negotiations, how can you have those guarantees which will allow you to sustain a fishing fleet?" says one official briefed on the meeting this morning.
- Barnier told ambassadors one option would be that the EU could impose tariffs on any stocks sold by UK fishermen into the single market if EU boats were denied access to those stocks, or the waters in which those stocks live.
- I'm told these are still in the realm of "ideas" in the ether, and that he has not agreed this with the UK. Member states are said to have emphasised the need for stability - ie, no annual risk of being denied access that would destabilise the European fishing sector.
President-Elect Joe Biden, speaking to Thomas Friedman of the NYT, says that "I'm not going to enter any new trade agreement with anybody until we have made major investments here at home and in our workers", potentially scuppering already-waning UK hopes of a rapid trade deal with the US in 2021.
- "On China, he said he would not act immediately to remove the 25 percent tariffs" or the Phase one deal. "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," he said. "I'm not going to prejudice my options." In the interview Biden states that he wants a full strategic review of the agreement with China "so we can develop a coherent strategy."
- Biden also stated that he hoped the US would rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal), that President Trump pulled the US' signature from in 2018.
- "The view of Biden and his national security team is that once the deal is restored by both sides, there will have to be, in very short order, a round of negotiations to seek to lengthen the duration of the restrictions on Iran's production of fissile material that could be used to make a bomb — originally 15 years ..."
- "Look, there's a lot of talk about precision missiles and all range of other things that are destabilizing the region," Biden said. But the fact is, "the best way to achieve getting some stability in the region" is to deal "with the nuclear program."