Clock Big Ben 320x320The case of the two UK-EU ‘interim’ deals — is the one in the WTO really ‘Plan B’?

The move reported by Politico on March 19, 2017 is important, but it might not be what it seems

— March 20, 2017


Hard work lies ahead now that the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement has been activated in 112 countries

tfa-shares-cats-abc-port_of_cape_town-600pxls

Reaching agreement was one test of multilateralism. Making it work will be another

— February 25, 2017


Alternative thinking: Out of the box for Brexit — and radically

boxman-small-square-220Guest columnist Clemens Boonekamp proposes a surprising alternative on Brexit’s trade front.

Don’t negotiate. Announce. Find out more

— February 12, 2017


Why UK is already under WTO rules, and why that matters for Brexit

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If we want to understand the UK’s trade relations with the EU after Brexit we cannot say that without a UK-EU deal they will “fall back on WTO rules”. Here’s why

— February 8, 2017


Questions on Brexit, agriculture, WTO schedules, standards, free trade agreements

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Written replies to questions for the inquiry of the UK House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee’s inquiry on ‘Brexit: agriculture’, February 8, 2017. Plus a link to watch Alan Matthews and Joseph McMahon.

More …

— February 9, 2017


12 years on, EU’s certified WTO goods commitments now up to date to 2004

Schedule certification

Just before Christmas and almost unnoticed, the WTO circulated the EU’s “schedules” of commitments on goods (not services) to reflect its 2004 expansion from 15 to 25 members.

They also are now the UK’s current official WTO commitments.

What are they? Where can I find them?

— February 4, 2017


Six things I’ve learnt since the Brexit referendum: seeing both the wood and the trees

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This is long, self-indulgent, and largely a memo to self.

Brexit is unprecedented.

The past few months have been a huge learning opportunity for all of us, in my case even within the narrow (but important) field of WTO rights and obligations.

What have I learnt?

— January 9, 2017


The race for the first ever WTO amendment: some key facts

Small BW chart updated 21.3.2017The race has been won, and we now have the first two amendments to the World Trade Organization agreements to take effect since the organisation was set up in 1995. The winner was on access to medicines. A month later, the rival followed — on cutting red tape at the border

The target was 110 ratifications, two thirds of the WTO’s 164 members.

This is not as straightforward as it seems

— Updated March 21, 2017


Types of a possible future UK-EU trade deal

Containers at Antwerp

All you need to know about customs unions, free trade areas, rules of origin, the single market and agriculture. By Alan Swinbank, Reading University — January 10, 2017


The limits of ‘possibility’: Splitting the lamb-mutton quota for the UK and EU–27

sheep-bw-squareThis is an exercise in applying the “latest 3-year average” rule to the tariff quota on lamb and mutton.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has announced the UK will “replicate as far as possible” the EU’s commitments in the WTO.

This is a sound approach. But how far is “as far as possible”? — January 6, 2017

Read on …


Can EU law really dictate World Trade Organization rules?

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This is a genuine question. I don’t know the answer. Hopefully some lawyers can help explain why the WTO and EU are trying to dodge the question of how to count the organisation’s members — December 1, 2016

Read on …


 Brexit, agriculture, the WTO, and uncertainty

EU External Affairs and EU Internal Market sub-committees, 8 September 2016

Written replies to questions for the inquiry of the UK House of Lords’ EU External Affairs Sub-Committee on Brexit: future trade between the UK and the EU

‘There is still a considerable amount of uncertainty because we don’t know the answer to three underlying questions …’ — October 22, 2016


In a nutshell: Brexit and the UK’s trading relations with the EU

Nutshell UK EU Brexit tradeFive graphics summarising the four main options facing the UK for its trade relationship with the EU after Brexit.

The four options are well-known but their implications are not always understood.

More …  — September 19, 2016


Oranges: a litmus test of UK post-Brexit tariff negotiations

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The UK currently charges complex import duties on oranges thanks to the EU. Will they survive Brexit? And will other countries want a say? Exploring post-Brexit tariffs: part 3
More …  — September 10, 2016


How seriously should we view G20 words on resisting protectionism?

Hangzhou_1412 sq small monoEvery declaration by G20 leaders since 2012 has pledged to resist protectionism.

Their record has not matched their rhetoric — Updated September 6, 2016

More …


Is the UK government planning dodgy ‘access’ to the EU market?

Banking and cars sq BWProposed special deal with the EU on cars or banking could be illegal.

References to “access to the single market” are also misleading — the UK will have access to the EU single market after Brexit. That’s dead certain.   More …  — August 29, 2016


Book review: How ‘Dialogue of the Deaf’ produced a sound tool for policy-making

TRIPS book cover_160x160Book review first published on IP-Watch, October 22, 2015

“This should bury a number of myths. The memoirs of 17 key authors of a WTO agreement plus an editor’s remarks make a unique account of a complex international negotiation almost miraculously producing a deal” More … — August  26, 2016


This EU tariff takes the biscuit

sweet-almond-biscuits-cookies square - pexels - lifeofpixTaking the biscuit. If Brexit manages to get rid of this EU monstrosity, it will indeed be an achievement. Time for the UK to act. After all, it has been complicit for decades. Exploring post-Brexit tariffs: part 2
More … — August 18, 2016

Plus a really nerdy look at annex 1. The EU’s complex tariffs on these products are in its WTO commitments You have been warned … — August 18, 2016


Second bite — how simple is the UK-WTO relationship post-Brexit?

The_Watermelon_50pct cropped square_Elyse_Ashton_eating_cherriesMuch of the divergent opinion boils down to differing assumptions.

We can probably do better than ‘just take your pick’ because there is evidence available to assess at least some assumptions — August 17, 2016

More …


The Hilton beef quota: a taste of what post-Brexit UK faces in the WTO

Bear with me. This can be pretty complicated, if not downright murky. Exploring post-Brexit tariffs: part 1 — August 10, 2016       More …

TRQ_Aaron Van De Pol, Cologine Germany Unsplash CC0


Three thoughts on the Brexit referendum

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Welcome to fantasyland.

  • Are the toughest Brexit negotiations likely to be within the UK itself?
  • Anyone for a ‘Swiss option’?
  • Drug prices, bent bananas, TTIP — have the media missed a trick?

— June 29, 2016       More …


Nothing simple about UK regaining WTO status post-Brexit

European Parliamnet hpgruessen Cropped CC0pugblic domain

It’s complex enough to fuel the arguments of campaigners on both sides, delight trade lawyers, and frustrate everyone else — June 7, 2016       More


WTO amendment on access to medicines faces EU conundrum

conundrum-pull-quote-110-membersOnly three more ratifications are needed for the WTO’s first ever amendment to take effect.

Or is it … FOUR?

The World Trade Organization is finally close to achieving an amendment to its rules. Only a handful of members still need to formally accept new provisions dealing with one aspect of access to medicines.

But how many, exactly?
More
— Original April 14, 2016. Updated November 30, 2016