JUMP TO: Primers | On Brexit | On Switzerland | On the WTO and trade

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The long and the short of the WTO’s dispute settlement crisis

boxer-boxing-Santa_Pexels CC0_200Will Santa deliver the WTO a sucker-punch Christmas present?
No. Here’s why

The short explanation: By Christmas the WTO will be dead — or will it?
The long read: A bit of bother down at the WTO court: Is it a killer?

— August 21, 2019


The UK and S. Korean deal was signed August 22, 2019Text of the UK-South Korea free trade agreement

Links to the text of the UK-South Korea free trade agreement, signed in London on August 22 and published on the South Korean Government website. It has been posted on that site in separate parts — June 27, 2019

See also an earlier article on grandfathering the EU-S.Korea agreement


A real beginner’s guide to GATT Article 24
toys_Art24_strip

NEW: Telegraph article: Iain Duncan Smith & co are wrong about GATT Art24, Brexit and getting out of jail — September 5, 2019
Written supposedly for a 3-year-old. But more importantly, a plea to stop talking about it — June 24, 2019
And a more detailed version: Everything you wanted to know about GATT Art.24, for “with-deal” Leavers, “no-deal” Leavers, and — surprise, surprise — Remainers/Revokers — June 27, 2019


A ‘WTO-deal’ Brexit? Video and text

I’d never heard of a ‘WTO-deal’ Brexit — until recently. What does it really mean? And does Brexit change it? — June 17, 2019


What have the UK and Switzerland agreed on trade post-Brexit?

parliament-bern-1080x540 BW

Some interesting insights are in a Swiss government information sheet, prepared mainly for Swiss companies— February 5, revised February 11, 2019


Interim agreement?The myth of a 10-year grace period, Brexit and trade talks with the EU

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg was wrong about this but he’s never corrected his mistake, and the myth persists.

What is the claim and why is it wrong? — December 27, 2018
One last go. The Article 24 red herring in less than 400 words. Think ‘highway code’ — February 16, 2019
Brexit through the magic land of Eksive “The magic land of Eksive. It’s where the solution lies for all our problems.” — May 31, 2019
A real beginner’s guide to GATT Article 24 — June 24, 2019
In-depth answers to frequently and not-so-frequently asked questions — June 27, 2019


What’s really happening on tariff quotas and Britain’s WTO commitments?

A weir acts like a tariff quota. Water flows over high and low barriers, but more easily through the low oneJust as tariff quotas are complex and misunderstood, the same applies to the news that pops up from time to time of what’s happening to the UK’s quotas in its post-Brexit WTO commitments.

• So what’s really happening?
• And what comments have been received from organisations and other countries?
• Plus: A real beginners’ guide to tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) and the WTO
— September 9 and 12, 2018


PRIMERSBack to top

The WTO and implications for the UK, EU, Brexit and international trade policy

Primary school kid by Bill Wegener on Unsplash CC0Let’s keep this simple.

The World Trade Organization has seen a surge of interest because of Donald Trump’s trade policies and Brexit. Here are some explainers, including on the UK’s and EU’s relationship with the WTO.

  1. What is the WTO? And is it undemocratic? — August 18, 2018
  2. Introducing the WTO elephant and its dodgy health — December 17, 2017
  3. A ‘WTO-deal’ Brexit? Video and text. What does it really mean? And does Brexit change it? — June 17, 2019
  4. Caught up in a war — the WTO and Brexit. What does leaving the EU “on WTO terms” mean? — April 6, 2019
  5. “Do trade deals to escape the WTO.” So why bother with it? Using the WTO as a weapon is the worst possible way to get to know the trading system almost all of us rely on — February 7, 2019
  6. A real beginners’ guide to tariffs and the WTO — July 28, 2018
  7. A real beginners’ guide to tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) and the WTO — September 9, 2018
  8. A real beginners’ guide to GATT Article 24 — June XXIV, MMXIX
  9. WTO membership — will the UK have to negotiate to re-join the WTO? (No) — October 7, 2017
  10. What’s really happening on tariff quotas and Britain’s WTO commitments? — September 12, 2018, (Replaces older archived version: Tariff quotas — what are they and why have they suddenly become a hot issue? — October 7, 2017, updated November 21, 2017)
  11. Standards, regulations and trade in goods — September 5, 2018
  12. What are geographical indications? What do they mean for post-Brexit UK? — May 5, 2018, last update September 26, 2018

More on the WTO below


On BrexitBack to top

Brexit and WTO commitmentsorange_tree_cropped-mono
  1. What’s really happening on tariff quotas and Britain’s WTO commitments? They are complex and misunderstood, and so is the news about them. Plus comments received from organisations and other countries — September 12, 2018
  2. If the EU and UK fall back on WTO commitments what does this mean for services? — April 12, 2017, updated May 4, 2017
  3. The limits of ‘possibility’: Splitting the lamb-mutton quota for the UK and EU–27 — January 6, 2017
  4. The Hilton beef quota: a taste of what post-Brexit UK faces in the WTO. Exploring post-Brexit tariffs: part 1 — August 10, 2016
  5. This EU tariff takes the biscuit. If Brexit manages to get rid of this EU monstrosity, it will indeed be an achievement. Plus a really nerdy look at annex 1. Exploring post-Brexit tariffs: part 2 — August 18, 2016
  6. Oranges: a litmus test of UK post-Brexit tariff negotiations. Exploring post-Brexit tariffs: part 3 — September 10, 2016 (last updated August 27, 2017)
  7. Second bite — how simple is the UK-WTO relationship post-Brexit? Much of the divergent opinion boils down to differing assumptions — August 17, 2016
  8. Nothing simple about UK regaining WTO status post-Brexit — June 7, 2016
Brexit and WTO rulesMarrakesh Ministerial Conference 1994 end of Uruguay Round
  1. GATT Article 24: A real beginner’s guide (June 24, 2019) | Article 24 in depth (June 27, 2019) | The myth of a 10-year grace period, Brexit and trade talks with the EU (December 27, 2018) | One last go. The red herring in less than 400 words (February 16, 2019)
  2. How does the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement really affect Brexit? — August 16, 2018
  3. Does the WTO require countries to control their borders? No and yes — July 18, 2018
  4. What WTO leadership means and where the UK would fit in — November 8, 2017;
    and How to be a trade champion, a guide for busy politicians — November 21, 2017
  5. The case of the two UK-EU ‘interim’ deals — is the one in the WTO really ‘Plan B’? — March 20, 2017
  6. Why UK is already under WTO rules, and why that matters for Brexit — February 8, 2017
  7. Is the UK government planning dodgy ‘access’ to the EU market? Proposed special deal with the EU on cars or banking could be illegal — August 29, 2016
UK and EU relations
  1. Grandfathering EU free trade deals for the UK: a look at an actual text: It won’t be automatic — February 13, 2018 | Text of the UK-S.Korea free trade agreement — September 3, 2019
  2. Types of a possible future UK-EU trade deal. By Alan Swinbank, Reading University — January 10, 2017
  3. In a nutshell: Brexit and the UK’s trading relations with the EU. Five graphics summarising the four main options — September 19, 2016
Brexit generallybananas_1_1200_crop_BW
  1. Five thoughts from the 2019 Easter break — Red Queen Theresa’s Race; Dishonesty and trade-offs; they ain’t seen nothing yet; is the Prime Minister the problem?; democracy and sovereignty weaponised — May 7, 2019
  2. What have the UK and Switzerland agreed on trade post-Brexit? — February 5, 2019
  3. If we’re to understand the Brexit talks, the media must do better than this — April 1, 2017
  4. Alternative thinking: Out of the box for Brexit — and radically. “Don’t negotiate. Announce.” By Clemens Boonekamp — February 12, 2017
  5. Six things I’ve learnt since the Brexit referendum: seeing both the wood and the trees — January 9, 2017
  6. Three thoughts on the Brexit referendum. Toughest talks within the UK itself? Anyone for a ‘Swiss option’? Drug prices, bent bananas, TTIP — have the media missed a trick? — June 29, 2016
Presentations and evidenceEU External Affairs and EU Internal Market sub-committees, 8 September 2016
  1. Caught up in a war — the WTO and Brexit. What does leaving the EU ‘on WTO terms’ mean? A presentation for Chatham House on some of the implications — March 11, 2019. Published here, slightly modified, April 6, 2019
  2. “Do trade deals to escape the WTO.” So why bother with it? A presentation for the “Westminster Workshop” on parliamentary oversight of trade agreements.  Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, London — February 7, 2019
  3. UK, EU & WTO. A presentation For LSE’s Executive Master in Public Administration programme — May 25, 2017
  4. Questions on Brexit, agriculture, WTO schedules, standards, free trade agreements. For the UK House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee. With link to watch Alan Matthews and Joseph McMahon — February 9, 2017
  5. Brexit, agriculture, the WTO, and uncertainty. For the UK House of Lords’ EU External Affairs Sub-Committee on Brexit — October 22, 2016

On SwitzerlandBack to top

alphorns_1080_eight cut

  1. What have the UK and Switzerland agreed on trade post-Brexit? — February 5, 2019
  2. How does a nation of serial voters handle a referendum? — March 2, 2018

On the WTO and tradeBack to topWTO building_BW cropped_1200pxl

WTO dispute settlement
  1. By Christmas the WTO will be dead — or will it? A short explanation — August 21, 2019
  2. A bit of bother down at the WTO court — Why? And is it a killer? Long read — August 21, 2019
WTO amendments
  1. Update: the three essential tasks for the WTO’s new trade facilitation deal — February 22, 2018
  2. Hard work lies ahead now that the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement has been activated in 112 countries — February 25, 2017
  3. The race for the first ever WTO amendment: some key facts. The race has been won, but the process is not over. — Updated March 5, 2018
  4. Can EU law really dictate World Trade Organization rules? — December 1, 2016
  5. WTO amendment on access to medicines faces EU conundrum — Original April 14, 2016. Updated November 30, 2016
Commitments
  1. 12 years on, EU’s certified WTO goods commitments now up to date to 2004. What are they? Where can I find them? — February 4, 2017
Policy and negotiations
  1. Who put the boot into Canadian dairy and why? By Robert Wolfe and Peter Ungphakorn — May 25, 2017
  2. How seriously should we view G20 words on resisting protectionism? Their record has not matched their rhetoric — Updated September 6, 2016
  3. Book review: How ‘Dialogue of the Deaf’ produced a sound tool for policy-making. Recollections of the negotiators on how they concluded the WTO’s ground-breaking intellectual property agreement — August  26, 2016
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