Let’s say that Britain and Germany put their passport printing out to tender, while France reserves passport printing to a French company, supposedly for security reasons. Now the British passport contract is up for renewal. Companies from Britain, Germany and France all put in a bid.
The French company has its fixed costs covered by its domestic contract with the French Republic, and so it can put in a bid at marginal cost. The British company was never able to bid for the French contract, and so this is not fair competition because the British bid has to be at full cost.
The British company could have put in a bid for the German contract, so any successful German bid for the British contract is merely them doing to us what we were aiming to do to them. This is fair competition.
Frankly our Government has been too soft on this one, whatever its complexion, and Gateshead is suffering for it. Someone like Donald Trump would not stand for this nonsense. Mr Trump gets a lot of unfavourable publicity, but let’s not forget why he won the U.S. presidential election.
This sort of thing has happened just too often while we have been members of the European Community, and it is one of the drivers of the Brexit vote. Remainers have usually failed to grasp an issue that is obvious to anyone living in Gateshead, even if they don’t know what we mean by full cost and marginal cost. If ever it is proposed that we rejoin the European Community, the Remainers are going to have to tell us how we will get fair treatment for places like Gateshead.