EU-UK Partnerships

The negotiations that took place in 2017 between the EU and the UK, after the latter had formally invoked Article 50 of the treaty of Lisbon, focused on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the Union. On December 15, the European Council decided that sufficient progress on these talks had been achieved to allow the EU and the UK to progress to the next phase of the talks. This phase will focus on the nature of the future partnership between the EU and the UK. The UK for its part has called for a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement to be concluded.

The UK has already signalled its wish to leave both the single market and the customs union. In various position papers issued over the course of 2017, it has called for a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement. It has also pointed to the benefits of ensuring that trade between the UK and the EU remain as “friction free” as possible. The Trade Bills and Customs Bills presented to parliament also clearly envision that the UK will be able to negotiate trade agreements with the rest of the world.
In order to ensure that the transition to new arrangements is not disruptive, the UK has also proposed a two-year transition period during which it current arrangements would continue to apply. The EU Council has interpreted this to mean that during that time, the UK will remain within the single market and apply all its rules, and be part of the EU’s customs union and common commercial policy. The latter would rule out any formal negotiations between the UK and non-EU partners.
There are currently around 280 free trade agreements worldwide that are in force and that have been notified to the WTO. But the future UK-EU trade partnership is in a category of its own since (i) liberalisation within the EU, including the UK, has gone much further than in any other trade agreement in the world; and (ii) the starting point for most trade negotiations is that countries seek to increase their level of integration with each other, whereas in this case, the aim to renegotiate the nature, and possibly level, of integration between parties.
This in turn raises critical issues as to how the renegotiation could be conducted in a way that manages risks to citizens and businesses. The publications posted below provide some initial analysis of the issues and options facing negotiators.

 

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Commentary

EU-UK: The Chips Are Down

    International trade in goods, Trade services, Professional services brexit, brexit professional services, brexit network, trade expertise, trade expertise network, Trade knowledge, trade knowedge exchange, trade compliance, trade tools, barriers to international trade, effects of tariffs, brexit trade, brexit trade deals, post brexit trade deals, post-brexit trade deals, brexit trade, brexit trade deals, trade after brexit, brexit trade agreements, brexit analysis, trade analysis,

    Introduction – a dialogue of opposites During the last week of February the European Union Council of Ministers formally endorsed the draft mandate which the European Commission had submitted, setting out objectives for a new long-term relationship with the United Kingdom.  A few days later the UK Government published a White Paper specifying its own […]

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    Commentary

    A tricky triangle: the UK’s negotiation positions for FTAs with the US and the EU

      The UK has published, in quick succession, its negotiating position for free trade agreements with, respectively, the European Union and the United States. It is an ambitious project. Few countries have attempted parallel bilateral negotiations with both the US and the EU simultaneously. Substantial differences between these two parties, especially on key issues of regulation, […]

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      Commentary

      The elusive notion of “a level playing field”

        International trade in goods, Trade services, Professional services brexit, brexit professional services, brexit network, trade expertise, trade expertise network, Trade knowledge, trade knowedge exchange, trade compliance, trade tools, barriers to international trade, effects of tariffs, brexit trade, brexit trade deals, post brexit trade deals, post-brexit trade deals, brexit trade, brexit trade deals, trade after brexit, brexit trade agreements, brexit analysis, trade analysis,

        “Level playing-field” has become one of the most commonly used phrases in international trade. It has been used for example, between the United States and China in their current series of trade disputes.   It crops up regularly between the United Kingdom and the European Union in the context of negotiating a long-term economic and trade […]

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        Commentary

        Doing free trade agreements as if policy really matters

          At the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos,  US Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Mnuchin expressed his optimism that a UK-US free trade agreement could be signed by the end of 2020. Noting that the UK was also negotiating with the EU, he said he was a little bit disappointed that US had not been […]

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          Commentary

          A deal, some deal, or no deal? What’s at play in UK-EU trade negotiations

            The EU flag and the UK flag. Post-Brexit Trade.

            Introduction The UK Government hopes that the General Election to be held on December 12, 2019 will solve the parliamentary impasse over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s draft EU withdrawal deal, either by finally securing parliamentary ratification for it or by forcing a No Deal outcome.  Opposition parties meanwhile are working together to block Brexit entirely, […]

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            Commentary

            Old wine, newish wineskin? Initial reflections on the revised UK-EU withdrawal agreement and political declaration

              The EU flag and the UK flag. Post-Brexit Trade.

              The European Commission (EC) and the UK Government reached an agreement,  on 17 October 2019,  on modifications to the Withdrawal Agreement and accompanying Political Declaration they had first concluded in November 2018, but which failed to pass UK parliament.  The modifications are less revisions than they are a form of recalibration on the way various […]

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              Commentary

              Trade facts the UK Government has to face

                International trade in goods, Trade services, Professional services brexit, brexit professional services, brexit network, trade expertise, trade expertise network, Trade knowledge, trade knowedge exchange, trade compliance, trade tools, barriers to international trade, effects of tariffs, brexit trade, brexit trade deals, post brexit trade deals, post-brexit trade deals, brexit trade, brexit trade deals, trade after brexit, brexit trade agreements, brexit analysis, trade analysis,

                A central plank of the UK Government’s Brexit policy is to re-establish an “independent” UK international trade policy following more than forty years of integration into the Common Commercial Policy (CCP) of the European Union.  This would have been hard enough technically, even without the ill-tempered stand-off into which the Brexit negotiations have now declined.  […]

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                Commentary

                No, GATT Article XXIV will not save the UK from a no deal Brexit

                  Once the preserve of trade policy wonks, GATT Article XXIV has entered mainstream political discourse in the UK. Ever since the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the UK and EU was first voted down in parliament, various political figures (Dominic Raab being the latest) have referred to this Article as paving the way  for a “managed […]

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