John Fitzgeralds’s pyjamas

Economist John Fitzgerald has constructed a Brexit reality check around a pair of pyjamas that he bought in Marks & Spencers in Dublin (Irish Times 4.11.16). The pyjamas were made in Vietnam and once the EU import tariff had been paid M&S could supply all its stores in Britain and Ireland from a single warehouse.  If the UK leaves the EU customs union all that must change. British political leaders are talking about making their own trade deals with countries around the world but that would be incompatible with any sort of membership of the customs union. A lower UK tariff on pyjamas would result in the whole European market being supplied with pyjamas via Britain, which would of course be unacceptable in 27 other countries which lost out on tariff income. More importantly, the days of the single warehouse for Britain and Ireland would seem to be numbered, with massive impact on our retail distribution and ultimately on prices. Unfortunately, Johgn did not supply a picture of himself in the new pyjamas.