The longest sections are the schedule of commitments on goods (912 pages) and rules of origin (128 pages)
SEPTEMBER 3, 2019 | UPDATED SEPTEMBER 10, 2019
These are 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.
The longest sections are the schedule of commitments on goods (912 pages) and rules of origin (128 pages).
A few days later, the texts were published on the British government website on September 10, along with an explanatory memorandum. A report to Parliament was published separately the previous day.
See also .) an earlier piece on rolling over the EU-S.Korea free trade agreement. This deal does that, but the devil is in the detail Continue reading “Text of the UK-South Korea free trade agreement”
I’d never heard of a ‘WTO-deal’ Brexit — until recently. What does it really mean? And does Brexit change it?
Available as a video (4’40”) on YouTube
POSTED JUNE 17, 2019 | UPDATED JUNE 17
“Mr Speaker, can I welcome the Prime Minister ruling out a second referendum, and ruling out revoking article 50 and leaving a WTO — whether managed or not — deal on the table.”
— Kate Hoey MP,
House of Commons, January 21, 2019
A “ WTO deal”. The phrase is spin used to camouflage the negativity of calling it “no deal”. But that’s what it is: no deal between the UK and EU.
We can question if “WTO deal” actually means anything in terms of a relationship between the UK and EU.
Usually the phrase refers to deals struck in negotiations within the WTO, as we shall see. That’s why many claim that for Brexit, it’s nonsense. A “WTO-deal” Brexit doesn’t exist.
Let’s be charitable and assume it might exist. If so, what would it mean? Not much.
Continue reading “A ‘WTO-deal’ Brexit? Video and text”
The WTO has become a weapon in a war of words over other issues. For some Brexiters, it’s a deal to look forward to. For some Remainers, it’s a wreckage. For Trump, it’s “unfair”. That’s the worst possible way to get to know the trading system almost all of us rely on
POSTED FEBRUARY 13, 2019 | UPDATED FEBRUARY 13, 2019
This page is based on a presentation given on February 7, 2019, introducing the basics and current issues in the World Trade Organization (WTO). It includes a link to download a handout of the presentation.
It was part of a contribution to a “
Westminster Workshop” on parliamentary oversight of trade agreements organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK in London, February 6–8, 2019.
Continue reading “‘Do trade deals to escape the WTO.’ So why bother with it? — a presentation”
Those who see no problems if the UK and EU fail to strike a deal regularly claim the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement will come to the rescue. They are wrong.
POSTED AUGUST 16, 2018 | UPDATED JULY 14, 2020
“The new Trade Facilitation Treaty commits members to facilitating trade, not obstructing it.” So wrote Iain Duncan Smith, former cabinet minister, Conservative Party leader and vocal Leave campaigner, in the Telegraph on August 15, 2018.
The argument is made with increasing frequency by “hard” Brexiters, who claim trade between Britain and the EU will not be disrupted, even if there is no agreement between them about their trading relationship when the UK leaves the EU.
Similar claims have been heard from former UK trade minister (1990–92) Lord (Peter) Lilley in
the Times the previous day, economic adviser Ruth Lea on Brexit Central, and international economic law professor David Collins, on Brexit Central and in the Spectator. Continue reading “How does the Trade Facilitation Agreement really affect Brexit?”
A year ago, two-thirds of the WTO’s membership had ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement, activating it in the ratifying countries. What’s happened since then?
FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | UPDATED FEBRUARY 22, 2018
A year ago today, the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement took effect in the ratifying countries amid a blaze of publicity, two decades after it was first proposed.
It was the first new WTO agreement since the late 1990s and its potential benefit was huge, particularly for implementing countries and particularly if their own procedures for handling imports and exports at the border were cumbersome.
Continue reading “Update: the three essential tasks for the WTO’s trade facilitation deal”
A guide for busy politicians: size counts—the more you trade, the bigger your clout in the WTO
NOVEMBER 21, 2017 | UPDATED NOVEMBER 21, 2017
International Trade Minister Greg Hands has again proclaimed the UK is a global trade champion only needing to “reclaim our position at heart of global trading system”.
I have written a
longer piece on this. Here are some key points for busy readers. I’m using the WTO as the context since that’s where “the heart of the global trading system” is. Continue reading “How to be a trade champion”
Continuing a look at what lies behind the sudden surge in interest in the UK’s and EU’s relationship with the World Trade Organization. Part 2: the ABCs of tariff quotas
There are newer versions of this article:
(1) an explanation of tariff quotas
(2) an update of what has happened with the UK’s and EU’s talks with WTO members on their post-Brexit goods schedules
POSTED OCTOBER 7, 2017 | UPDATED NOVEMBER 25, 2017
When the press learned that the UK and EU had agreed on a common approach for their talks with other World Trade Organization (WTO) members, the headlines spoke of a “breakthrough” and a “deal”. A closer look suggests this was an exaggeration. But the issue is important, nonetheless. Continue reading “UK, EU, WTO, Brexit primer — 2. Tariff quotas”
Reaching agreement was one test of multilateralism. Making it work will be another
Cape Town: South Africa is one of 51 countries that have not yet ratified the agreement
POSTED FEBRUARY 25, 2017 | UPDATED FEBRUARY 28, 2017
It’s always tempting, when a tough negotiation has concluded, to breathe a sigh of relief and proclaim “job done”. But with trade agreements, the job is rarely done. For the World Trade Organization’s shiny new Trade Facilitation Agreement, seriously hard work lies ahead if it is to achieve its potential. Continue reading “Hard work lies ahead now that the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement has been activated in 112 countries”
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
By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED DECEMBER 1, 2016 | UPDATED DECEMBER 1, 2016
If you visit the WTO website today, bang in the middle of the homepage is a countdown image declaring that only 10 ratifications are needed before the Trade Facilitation Agreement enters into force.
From wto.org homepage December 1, 2016
What you won’t see is another countdown that should be even more exciting. Much closer to entering into force is a long overdue amendment on pharmaceutical patents — only three more ratifications are needed.
Continue reading “Can EU law really dictate World Trade Organization rules?”
The first stage of the race has been won. In early 2017, two thirds of World Trade Organization members ratified two amendments. Now it’s up to the rest
By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED JULY 31, 2016 | UPDATED March 5, 2018
The World Trade Organization agreements are over 20 years old. Economic and trade needs are changing fast. And yet the agreements have never been updated — until now. Two amendments have reached the target. To achieve that they needed 110 ratifications, two thirds of the WTO’s 164 members.
Continue reading “The race for the first ever WTO amendment: some key facts”