27 June 2017
Dr Peter Holmes Reader in Economics at the University of Sussex and Fellow of the UKTPO
The UK government’s new approach to trade policy towards developing countries has just been released in a DFID document that has been widely commented on. The government’s proposals are welcome, but yet they are not quite as generous as they may seem.
A Bloomberg piece says, optimistically: “The government promises improved access to U.K. markets for the world’s poorest countries”. However the only concrete promise is that
“ around 48 countries across the globe, from Bangladesh to Sierra Leone, Haiti and Ethiopia will continue to benefit from duty-free exports into the UK on all goods other than arms and ammunition, known as ‘everything but arms.”
In other words, the UK pledges to maintain existing arrangements for the poorest countries currently benefiting from the EU’s Everything but Arms deal (EBA). This amounts to simply maintaining the status quo for this group and is not actually an improvement.
Charlotte Humma June 27th, 2017
Posted In: UK - Non EU
23 June 2017
L. Alan Winters CB, Professor of Economics and Director of UKTPO and Ilona Serwicka, Research Fellow at UKTPO
One year ago the British people voted to leave the EU. Out of 33.5 million votes cast, 51.9 per cent were for ‘leave’, albeit in the absence of any statement about what ‘leaving’ might mean. The government is still vague about what the UK’s post-Brexit trade policy should be – even after triggering the formal leave process – but the general election has pressured Theresa May to soften her Brexit stance. Even though Brexit negotiations are now formally under way, the options suddenly again seem wide open for debate.
In terms of options the UK is back at square one, but following a year’s analysis, it is now clearer what these options amount to. Over the year, the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO) has discussed many of the options and this note draws on some of that analysis to try to light the path forward. (more…)
Charlotte Humma June 23rd, 2017
19 June 2017
Alasdair Smith is an Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex, and is a member of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.
It’s now 12 months since the referendum decision, 3 months since the Article 50 notification, and only 21 months until the date on which the UK is due to exit the EU. Brexit negotiations start today, but most politicians have still not progressed beyond the stage of wishful thinking.
There are ambiguities about the objectives of both the large political parties but each seems to want some kind of free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU after Brexit, often described by a phrase like ‘tariff-free access to the single market’. Behind such inherently confused terminology lies an apparent wish to have a ‘deep’ FTA; that is to say, a UK-EU FTA which has no tariffs and sufficient regulatory convergence between the UK and the EU that many of the non-tariff advantages of the single market are retained.
Here’s the first hard truth: a deep UK-EU FTA cannot be negotiated in 21 months. Even much weaker agreements take longer, especially if the political and technical ground has not been prepared in advance, so it’s not ‘challenging’ or ‘ambitious’ or ‘difficult’: everyone who understands the reality of trade negotiations knows that it is completely impossible. (more…)
Charlotte Humma June 19th, 2017
Posted In: UK- EU
12 June 2017,
L. Alan Winters CB, Professor of Economics and Director of UKTPO.
Suddenly everyone is talking again about the UK’s new trading relationship with the rest of the EU. Given the structure of the new Parliament, any party’s views may turn out to be pivotal. This blog is partly about what the parties say and partly about making conversation between them fruitful by clarifying the language. (more…)
Charlotte Humma June 12th, 2017
12 June 2017
Guest blog by Iyan I.H. Offor, Trade & Animal Welfare Project Officer at Eurogroup for Animals and David Bowles, Assistant Director, Public Affairs, RSPCA.
The Conservative Government has been quick to highlight the potential benefits and quick wins for animal welfare made possible by new UK trade competencies post-Brexit. However, experience with the reality of trade negotiations is making some animal welfare organisations more sceptical.
The UK has some of the highest standards in the world enacted under a legislative model. This is in contrast to the approach of the US and Canada, for example, which place reliance upon voluntary industry standards. Diverging welfare standards can result in increased imports of low-welfare products for two reasons. First, lower animal welfare standards are invariably linked to cheaper production which out-factors transport costs. Second, there are no effective mandatory product labelling mechanisms for animal welfare, except for shell eggs. Thus, although consumers express willingness to buy higher welfare products and to pay a premium for such products, they inadvertently purchase low welfare meat and dairy because the market does not operate transparently. This puts the livelihoods of British farmers who comply with animal welfare production requirements at risk. (more…)
Charlotte Humma June 12th, 2017
5 June 2017
Brexit could lead to a boom in tourism and high-end exports in the South East, according to a consultation of locals by trade experts at the University of Sussex.
However, there is growing concern about the logistical headache of potentially increased customs and immigration checks at South-East airports, seaports and the Channel Tunnel, the process found.
With the UK General Election only a week away, and with Brexit such an important issue for this election campaign, economists and lawyers from the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO) based at the University of Sussex have been exploring the key issues for post-Brexit trade policy for the South-East region. (more…)
Charlotte Humma June 5th, 2017