The first beginners’ guide was supposed to be for a “six-year-old” to understand. Sadly tariff quotas are more complicated, so perhaps you have to be seven-and-a-half for this one. And that’s just at the beginning. Start here …
— September 9, 2018
What’s really happening on tariff quotas and Britain’s WTO commitments?
— September 12, 2018
Some primers on the WTO, and its implications for the UK,a EU, Brexit and international trade policy
Let’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.
- What is the WTO? And is it undemocratic? — August 18, 2018
- Introducing the WTO elephant and its dodgy health — December 17, 2017
- A real beginners’ guide to tariffs and the WTO — July 28, 2018
- A real beginners’ guide to tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) and the WTO — September 9, 2018
- WTO membership — will the UK have to negotiate to re-join the WTO? (No) — October 7, 2017
- 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)
- Standards, regulations and trade in goods — September 5, 2018
- What are geographical indications? What do they mean for post-Brexit UK? — May 5, 2018, updated September 2, 2018
How does the Trade
Facilitation Agreement really
They are wrong.
Here’s why. — August 16, 2018
What is the WTO? And is it undemocratic?
In the past few weeks we’ve seen a revival of the old claim that the WTO is undemocratic.
Why? Because it has become a weapon in the Brexit war of words.
As ever, the truth is more complicated — August 17, 2018
‘Can someone explain to me international tariffs and WTO law as if I were a six year old? Seriously. I don’t get it. At all. No frame of reference whatsoever. Any takers?’
Well, here goes … — July 28, 2018
Does the WTO require countries to control their borders?
Among the arguments that politicians are making about the Irish border are the claim either that WTO rules require countries to control their borders, or that the UK can drop border controls and wait to see what Ireland does.
One is partly false, the other totally — July 18, 2018
How does a nation of serial voters handle a referendum?
A year on: the three essential tasks for the WTO’s trade facilitation deal
What’s happened since then?
Update: the three essential tasks for the WTO’s trade facilitation deal — February 22, 2018
Grandfathering EU free trade deals for the UK: a look at an actual text
Rolling them over into the UK’s own agreements will not be automatic. A look at the actual text of the EU-South Korea deal shows why
— February 13, 2018
People who should know better keep talking about the UK becoming a leader in the World Trade Organization.
Why? What exactly does this mean and what are the chances? — November 8, 2017
And: How to be a trade champion, a guide for busy politicians — November 21, 2017
Who put the boot into Canadian dairy and why?
When journalists don’t understand WTO work they jump to wrong conclusions. The questions Canada faced in the WTO Agriculture Committee were not a geopolitical attack. They were more important than that. By Robert Wolfe and Peter Ungphakorn — May 25, 2017
UK, EU & WTO — a presentation
If the EU and UK fall back on WTO commitments what does this mean for services?
Be warned. I’m not about to give a proper answer. This is an attempt to point to where the information can be found. There’s so much detail — 160 sub-sectors of it — I’ll wait for others to take up the baton — April 12, 2017, updated May 4, 2017
If we’re to understand the Brexit talks, the media must do better than this
— April 1, 2017
— March 20, 2017
Alternative thinking: Out of the box for Brexit — and radically
Don’t negotiate. Announce. Find out more …
— February 12, 2017
Why UK is already under WTO rules, and why that matters for Brexit
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
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.
— February 9, 2017
12 years on, EU’s certified WTO goods commitments now up to date to 2004
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.
— February 4, 2017
Six things I’ve learnt since the Brexit referendum: seeing both the wood and the trees
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.
— January 9, 2017
The race for the first ever WTO amendment: some key facts
The race has been won, but the process is not over. 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.
— Updated March 5, 2018
Types of a possible future UK-EU trade deal
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
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
Can EU law really dictate World Trade Organization rules?
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
Brexit, agriculture, the WTO, and uncertainty
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
In a nutshell: Brexit and the UK’s trading relations with the EU
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
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 (last updated August 27, 2017)
How seriously should we view G20 words on resisting protectionism?
Their record has not matched their rhetoric — Updated September 6, 2016
Is the UK government planning dodgy ‘access’ to the EU market?
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
“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
Taking 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?
We can probably do better than ‘just take your pick’ because there is evidence available to assess at least some assumptions — August 17, 2016
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 …
Three thoughts on the Brexit referendum
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
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
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?
— Original April 14, 2016. Updated November 30, 2016