Friday, 19 August 2016

Beyond Brexit - WTO?

It is almost 60 days since the EU referendum of 23rd June 2016.  Following the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, a new government was formed under the leadership of Prime Minister Theresa May who stated during the brief party leadership campaign that "Brexit means Brexit" and she reorganised aspects of the government accordingly.  Detail of the reorganisation is at Parliament Written Statement 18th July.  There is a new Department for Exiting the European Union and also a Department for International Trade.

A the moment, there are many questions as to what the future might hold.  For example, what kind of relationship will emerge between the EU and also with non-EU countries.  Although it was intended to inform the referendum, this Referendum Document gives indications as to what forms of relationship might be possible.

The possibility
cannot be ruled out that UK will find itself trading under World Trade Organization terms - discussed at pages 35 to 42  of the Referendum document.  It would be the most definitive break possible from the EU.  There would be no access to the EU single market and no wider co-operation on crime and terrorism (unless separately negotiated).  Privileged access to some 53 markets outside the EU would end because those deals were set up by the EU on behalf of member states.  The timescale to renegotiate such deals separately cannot be stated with any certainty but it is generally thought that it could extend to several years.

The World Trade Organization came into being on 1st January 1995 replacing earlier arrangements.  On 29th July 2016, WTO had a membership of 164 countries.  The EU is a member in its own right.  More information about the WTO is available via their website - What is the WTO?

Links etc.

See also The United Kingdom and the WTO

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development - Understanding the UK's position in the WTO after Brexit (Part 1) 

An interesting discussion of the situation now facing the UK and the EU is available at Businessresearcher 15th August 2016.  It is well worth reading.

The European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) were the subjects of an earlier post 26th July - Beyond Brexit - EFTA and EEA?





European Economic Area


European Free Trade Area

World Trade Organization


about the European Economic Area (EEA


European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

EFTA today maintains the management of the EFTA Convention (intra-EFTA trade), the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement (EFTA-EU relations), and the EFTA Free Trade Agreements (third country relations). The EFTA Convention and EFTA free trade agreements are managed by the Geneva office, and the EEA Agreement by the Brussels office.



 Ministers in the British government at August 2016.


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