Real-Politik in trade negotiations

Some young, bright, new Dutch finance minister had a clever idea: if I remember correctly, it was to eliminate exemption from dividend tax if a corporate holds more than 5% of the shares in a Dutch company, including those held by foreign entities.

Huge vote getter, until the grizzled expert (read civil servant) on the matter came up from behind his desk. “That clause” he said, “is embedded in some 100 bi-lateral tax agreements that include many other features. If you sit down with, say, the French they will instantaneously turn around and I can think of three features in the agreement that they want to eliminate and would be detrimental to Dutch interests…”

The idea was quietly buried!

To think that renegotiating all the trade relations and other agreements with the EU is going to result in a better deal only for the UK is a pipe dream.

16 June 2016