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

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”?

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED JANUARY 6, 2017 | UPDATED JANUARY 6, 2017

UPDATE:
The goods schedule for the EU’s enlargement in 2004 to 25 members (EU–25) was certified and circulated in December 2016. Details are here

Expert opinion differs over whether re-establishing the UK’s WTO commitments will be little more than reproducing, as a legal right, those of the present 28-member European Union. Continue reading “The limits of ‘possibility’: Splitting the lamb-mutton quota for the UK and EU–27”

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’

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED OCTOBER 22, 2016 | UPDATED OCTOBER 22, 2016

On October 17, 2016 the first batch of written evidence was published for the UK House of Lords’ EU External Affairs Sub-Committee’s inquiry on Brexit: future trade between the UK and the EU. Most were replies to questions from the sub-committee.

My answers are below and as a pdf file here. They can also be found on the Parliament website here (and as pdf here). Continue reading “Brexit, agriculture, the WTO, and uncertainty”

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. Some summary graphics

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED SEPTEMBER 19, 2016 | UPDATED SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

This is a summary of 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. These are the options: Continue reading “In a nutshell: Brexit and the UK’s trading relations with the EU”

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


By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED SEPTEMBER 10, 2016 | UPDATED OCTOBER 21, 2018

UPDATES:
1. The goods schedule for the EU’s enlargement in 2004 to 25 members (EU–25) was certified and circulated in December 2016. For oranges, the tariffs and tariff quota are unchanged. Details are here

2. Some of the EU’s import duties on oranges from South Afirca are being eliminaged gradually under the EU-Sothern African Development Community(SADC ) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which took effect from October 10, 2016. The details are pretty complicated. It has already scrapped duty on imports in the period June 1 to October 15. Over nine years the duty-free period is being exended by six weeks to 30 November but apparently starting from 16%. During the Mediterranean harvest period imports are still charged duty, although from April 1 to May 31 it seems to be 12%. See this press release, and the full text of the agreement including tariff reductions (pdf).

The UK can easily adopt the EU’s customs duties as its own after Brexit. That’s a common assumption, and for most of the thousands of traded products it’s likely to be true, both for the actual duties charged and for the commitments the UK will re-establish in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

But with many other products the UK might find that simply carrying on with the EU’s duty rates is not so easy, particularly in agriculture. A lot depends on how other countries react. Oranges are as good an indicator of their possible reactions as any other product. Continue reading “Oranges: a litmus test of UK post-Brexit tariff negotiations”

This EU tariff takes the biscuit: Annex 1 — a really nerdy look

The complexity of the EU’s tariffs on bakery products, confectionary and food preparations is in its WTO goods commitments, Annex 1 on ‘composite agrigoods’. Want to know how it really works?

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED AUGUST 18, 2016 | UPDATED MAY 19, 2020

UPDATES:
The goods schedule for the EU’s enlargement in 2004 to 25 members (EU–25) was certified and circulated in December 2016. Details are here.
.
Hallelujah! My wish may be granted. On May 19, 2020, the British government announced it was getting rid of the Meursing table, “allowing us to scrap thousands of unnecessary tariff variations on products — including over 13,000 tariff variations on products like biscuits, waffles, pizzas, quiches, confectionery, and spreads”.

OK, you’ve been warned. One expert who actually understands this stuff called it the most “horrendous” and “complex” construction in any country’s WTO commitments. Continue reading “This EU tariff takes the biscuit: Annex 1 — a really nerdy look”

This EU tariff takes the biscuit

If Brexit manages to get rid of this EU monstrosity, it will indeed be an achievement. Exploring post-Brexit tariffs: part 2

EU customs used to have 27,720 categories of these. Now they have 13,608


By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED AUGUST 18, 2016 | UPDATED MAY 19, 2020

UPDATES:
The goods schedule for the EU’s enlargement in 2004 to 25 members (EU–25) was certified and circulated in December 2016. Details are here.
.
Hallelujah! My wish may be granted. On May 19, 2020, the British government announced it was getting rid of the Meursing table, “allowing us to scrap thousands of unnecessary tariff variations on products — including over 13,000 tariff variations on products like biscuits, waffles, pizzas, quiches, confectionery, and spreads”.

 
If you make biscuits in Britain and hope to continue to export to the EU after the UK leaves, you’re in for a treat. Ditto if you make bread, cakes, chocolate, breakfast cereals, food preparations or anything similar. Continue reading “This EU tariff takes the biscuit”

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

Much 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

The first bite at the cherry is here


By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED AUGUST 17, 2016 | UPDATED AUGUST 20, 2016

Since the June 23, 2016 referendum, the debate about the UK’s post-Brexit status in the World Trade Organization has become more intense.

Back in March, AgraEurope’s first and detailed look at it attracted little attention (part 1 and part 2 are for subscribers; additional facts, free to view).

WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo’s comments before the referendum did raise a few eyebrows — but not much.

IN THIS ARTICLE

ASSUMPTIONS SCRUTINISED
Nothing simple:
• UK revising commitments, some transposed from EU’s
• tough negotiations to keep entitlements to protect agriculture
• current EU commitments not known
• trade continues but possible disruptions

Not complicated (one or several of these)
• “let’s be Singapore” — UK to be a free unilateral free trader (easier WTO talks)
• “we need you” — other WTO members willing to accommodate UK’s demands in order to keep trading
• “call my bluff” — little risk of legal challenge so UK has legal grounds to go ahead and submit its own WTO terms

Even more complicated (one or both):
• “the blank paper” — UK renegotiates everything from scratch, nothing transposed automatically from EU
• “accession route” — UK negotiates new commitments as if a new WTO member

PLUS What Azevêdo said

All that has changed. Demand has risen for what is now part of a special report for AgraEurope subscribers, and a debate has developed in academic and media comment, and on social media. Continue reading “Second bite — how simple is the UK-WTO relationship post-Brexit?”

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

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED AUGUST 10, 2016 | UPDATED NOVEMBER 25, 2016
Developed from part of an original article in AgraEurope

UPDATE:
The goods schedule for the EU’s enlargement in 2004 to 25 members (EU–25) was certified and circulated in December 2016. Details are here

“Tariff-rate quotas” are among the most difficult challenges facing the UK as it re-establishes its World Trade Organization (WTO) membership, the basis of all its post-Brexit trading relationships with the EU, free trade agreement partners and most of the rest of the world. Continue reading “The Hilton beef quota: a taste of what post-Brexit UK faces in the WTO”

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


By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED JUNE 7, 2016 | UPDATED AUGUST 19, 2016

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo has finally broken his silence over the UK leaving the EU (Brexit), first with the Financial Times, followed by Reuters, the Guardian and others. One of his key points was that the UK would face complex talks in the World Trade Organization. What did he mean? Continue reading “Nothing simple about UK regaining WTO status post-Brexit”