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WTO, rules, commitments, tariffs, standards, trade wars, geographical indications, and more

UK-EU tariffs, tariff quotas, services, media, leadership, GATT Art24, continuity deals, and more

Trade, direct democracy

Crisis, reform, negotiations, disputes, amendments, agriculture, access to medicines, trade facilitation


India and South Africa pour cold water on alternative approach to WTO talks
On the day she starts her term as new WTO chief, Okonjo-Iweala faces a challenge to her vision
February 22, 2021

Dire meeting shows scale of Dr Ngozi’s task Mar 5, 2021

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the new WTO chief
Sailing close to the wind Feb 18, 2021 | Let’s not get carried away Feb 15, 2021 | US ends deadlock Updated Feb 5, 2021 | A saviour? Or a butler? Jun-Jul 2020


2021: Ambition and cynicism collide
A strange atmosphere surrounds the WTO agriculture talks
February 4, 2021

With note on new approaches to domestic support February 4, 2021

Long read

From COVID-19 into 2021
Lessons for WTO work on agricultural trade and support
1. ‘WTO rules are not prescriptions’ 2. What’s happened 3. Prospects
(Plus References)
December 31, 2020

Dispute settlement

Dispute settlement in crisis, but …

Since December 2019 the WTO Appellate Body has been forced into a deep freeze
August 21, 2019; May 3, 2020
Short: By Christmas 2019 the WTO was supposed to be dead — why wasn’t it?
Long: A bit of bother down at the WTO court: Is it a killer?
Stop-gap: Arbitration, an alternative way to appeal August 3, 2020

… the WTO does more than disputes

Reminders for those who think the crisis is dragging trade into the law of the jungle
December 11, 2019; January 17, 2020; February 11, 2021

Keeping international trade within agreed rules relies on much more than dispute settlement

The WTO is surprisingly busy — considering it’s supposed to be dead

What’s really happening on tariff quotas and Britain’s WTO commitments?
September 2018.

What’s happening?
What comments?
Beginners’ guide

‘WTO terms’ will apply in all future UK-EU trade. But how much?

A sliding scale of trade barriers
Summary | Part 1: WTO terms | Part 2: goods | Part 3: services and more
May 27, 2020


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

These posts explain the WTO, how it works, its member-driven structure, and the UK’s and EU’s relationship with it.

How the WTO works graphic
Key functions: all handled by the WTO’s membership

Real beginners’ guides

Tariffs and the WTO
July 28, 2018
Tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) and the WTO
September 9, 2018
GATT Article 24

‘WTO terms’

They apply in any future UK-EU trade relationship. But how much?

Part 1 ‘WTO terms’
Part 2 goods
Part3 services and more
May 27, 2020

More on the WTO below. See also archived primers

On Brexit

Brexit and WTO commitments, WTO rules, free trade agreements,
Brexit more generally, presentations and evidence

Brexit and WTO commitments
Brexit and WTO rules
Free trade agreements, UK and EU relations

Types of agreement

Types of a possible future UK-EU trade deal. By Alan Swinbank, Reading University
January 10, 2017

In a nutshell: Brexit and the UK’s trading relations with the EU. 5 graphics summarising the 4 main options September 19, 2016

‘No deal’ on UK-EU trade is worse than ‘Australia-style’
November 30, 2020

See also archived posts on Brexit

On Switzerland


What have the UK and Switzerland agreed on trade post-Brexit?
February 5, 2019; completely overhauled January 15, 2021

See also archived posts on Switzerland


Dispute settlement, policy and negotiation,
amendments and commitments

Policy and negotiations

Intellectual property

TRIPS waiver

The WTO’s deadlock over an intellectual property waiver for COVID-19

Questions and explanations about why the waiver is proposed, why it’s opposed and what it would mean
Updated February 21, 2021


India and South Africa pour cold water on alternative approach to WTO talks Feb 22, 2021

Dispute settlement

It’s working

How the WTO deals with problem trade measures—it’s not just dispute settlement
The Appellate Body is in a deep freeze, but those who think it will drag trade into the law of the jungle are in for a surprise
December 11, 2019; updated

The WTO is surprisingly busy — considering it’s supposed to be dead
January 17, 2020

VIDEO: The WTO and the global trading system (Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation, YouTube, 54 mins)
— Adam Posen, Vince Cable, Stuart Harbinson, Peter Ungphakorn, David Tinline
June 10, 2020

Authorised retaliation

Spot the difference: US tariffs on Scotch are not part of a tariff war
BBC Question Time was wrong about tariffs. It matters.
February 15, 2020

More on the crisis

Yes, the WTO needs fixing—but not the way this NY Times piece imagines
December 27, 2020

See also archived posts on the WTO

Header photo: Norway reflections by David Mark from Pixabay, CC0