Christophe Bondy’s Advice to UK Policymakers

23 01 2018

The Canada Option is oftened mentioned in discussions about what the UK’s future relationship with the EU might look like. (It is often contrasted with the Norway Option). On 17 January,  the House of Commons Committee on Exiting the European
Union heard testimony from three expert witnesses who were deemed to be experts on the Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA).  They are Christophe Bondy, Public International Lawyer at Cooley (UK) LLP and former senior counsel to the Canadian on the CETA negotiations; Dr Lorand Bartels, University of Cambridge and Senior Counsel, Linklaters; and William Swords,  a retired banker who is President of the UK-Canada Chamber of Commerce. (Personally, I’m  not at all certain why Swords was invited, since he doesn’t appear to know much about the lengthy process that resulted in the CETA agreement). Christophe Bondy, in contrast, knows a great deal, as he was in the room during the negotiations.  You can read the full transcript of his excellent testimony here. I am excepting the most powerful section of his testimony below.

Stephen Crabb MP: What is the single most important piece of advice that
you can give to the UK Government about its starting posture?

Christophe Bondy: The single most important piece of advice is to study
what the benefits are that the UK draws from the European Union. Study
how it functions. You have been participating in this for the last 45
years. I do not think this is a surprise. It was a British person, it was
Baron Cockfield, who in 1985 set out in a White Paper 300 different
measures that would have to be achieved to achieve the single market,
which were implemented. As of 2006 with the Services Directive, there
has been progressive liberalisation in trade and services across the
European Union.

You have created, as I understand, something like 58 different impact
assessments. I do not know what they contained entirely, but some of
them contain, for each of those sectors, the laws and regulations that are
the European rules of the road that sectors across the UK depend upon to
do business. You are not moving from a situation like Canada in the EU,
where there was a big wall up that we have knocked down. You can now
step over the wall so there are opportunities. That is good. You have
been living in a system that has had that bridge in place. You have been
functioning with it in place for a long time and people depend upon it.
Figure out what it is that you depend upon and how much you are willing
to give up….

In March 2019, in technical terms, the UK will experience probably the
single biggest loss of free trading rates in human history, because you
will suddenly not have the benefit of all of the treaties that the EU has
entered into, in addition to losing access to the EU.


You can read more about Christophe’s impressive CV here.