In reverse chronological order
September 2017 – Authors: Emily Lydgate and L. Alan Winters
The EU Customs Union and Single Market created a significant volume of trade between the UK and the EU and stimulated the development of European value chains.The UK government has stated its intention to leave the Single Market and Customs Union and this remains the position of the leadership of both main political parties. Yet both enable a degree of integration far exceeding that attainable through any simple tariff-free Free Trade Area (FTA). In this briefing paper we examine the possibilities for maintaining some of these benefits in key sectors. WTO rules are drafted and applied in such a way that the UK and the EU27 could design a WTO-consistent trade agreement that goes some way towards preserving current trading conditions in a subset of sectors. We discuss how this might be achieved and also some of the limitations that such an approach entails.
May 2017 – Authors: Kym Anderson and Glyn Wittwer
The UK has accounted for a major share of the world’s wine imports for centuries, and wine currently accounts for more than one-third of UK alcohol consumption. Its withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit) therefore will affect not only UK wine consumers, producers, traders, distributors and retailers but also suppliers of those imports. Based on a model of the world’s wine markets, the impacts of various alternative Brexit scenarios are determined through to 2025, involving adjustments to UK and EU27 bilateral tariffs on wine imports and any changes to UK income growth and the value of the pound over the period of adjustment. The research finds that in the main scenario considered, for consumers in the UK the price of wine in 2025 is 22% higher in local currency terms than it would be without Brexit, the volume of UK wine consumption is 28% lower, and the value of UK imports is 27% lower because of Brexit. Such a sales reduction in the UK would be a blow to participants in UK wine bottling, transporting, storing, wholesaling and retailing businesses, as well as restaurants and pubs.
March 2017 – Author: Kamala Dawar
This briefing paper looks at some of the legal issues that will affect the UK’s public procurement laws and policies following Brexit. When the UK leaves the EU, it is unlikely to be able to simply rollover its current procurement coverage under the WTO Government Procurement Agreement. However, this opens up the possibility of pursuing horizontal policy objectives, such as promoting SME or green public procurement, which is possible under the WTO GPA obligations, but will also need to comply with other multilateral rules. Brexit could offer the UK the possibility to craft a procurement system flexible enough to incorporate the devolved procurement legislation, under the supervision of the Competition and Markets Authority. Such an integrated approach would be beneficial for value for money, legal clarity, and enforcement. It would help to ensure conformity to WTO commitments, while acting as a counterweight against fragmentation.
January 2017 – Author: Alan Swinbank
EU policies have directly influenced UK food supplies and prices, the profitability of farm businesses, and the rural environment and land use. While Brexit offers the UK an opportunity to design a more efficient agricultural policy that would benefit farmers and the environment, this new policy could have possible implications for consumer prices and will have to conform to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. This Briefing Paper explores the issues around existing and continuing support for farm businesses and the rural environment, and the UK’s future agri-food trade relations.
November 2016 – Author: Ingo Borchert
Trade in services is economically significant for several reasons; it directly affects UK consumers’ welfare in such sectors as telecommunications, health or retail distribution; producer services such as finance, transportation or professional services are inputs into both the production and international exchange of goods; and it makes a positive contribution to the UK’s current account. Brexit will have important repercussions for the UK’s economic ties with the EU in the realm of services markets. This paper highlights how Brexit might directly and indirectly affect UK services trade and policy-making in this area.
November 2016 – Authors: Michael Gasiorek, Peter Holmes, Jim Rollo
This briefing paper provides an evaluation of the feasibility of different options for post-Brexit trade relations. With the EU accounting for close to 50% of the UK’s imports and exports of goods and services, the focus in this paper is on the UK’s future trading relations with the EU itself. Whilst all of the options listed in this paper are problematic, the aim is to examine the limitations of what may be feasible and – in so doing – to suggest a way, or ways, forward. Given that the UK’s objectives take the form of seeking to impose certain constraints on the post-Brexit outcome, we look at the extent to which each option is consistent with these ‘red lines’.
October 2016 – Authors: Erika Szyszczak and Emily Lydgate
Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) will govern the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Several aspects of the interpretation and application of Article 50 TEU pose particular challenges, including domestic controversy regarding the constitutional requirements for triggering Article 50 TEU, the short time-span of negotiation, and the uncertain role for the UK in trade negotiations with the EU and the rest of the world during the withdrawal process. This paper outlines these issues, focusing in particular on the EU and international trade dimensions of withdrawal, in order to provide clarity and highlight potential pitfalls affecting both the EU and the UK.
October 2016 – Author: Peter Holmes
This briefing paper summarises two issues that a post-Brexit United Kingdom would face if it re-joined the European Economic Area (EEA). It introduces the concept of the EEA+EU as a ‘regulatory union’ within which products, once approved in one country, can circulate freely. Secondly, Rules of Origin (RoOs) — which in effect specify the domestic share of value-added — would need to be adhered to, raising concerns about the viability of supply chains with UK links.
September 2016 – Authors: Emily Lydgate, Jim Rollo, Rorden Wilkinson
This paper discusses the challenges for the UK as it attempts to redefine and renegotiate its post-Brexit foreign trading relationships. This briefing makes the assumption that the UK will not, after leaving the EU, remain part of the customs union. On this basis, the paper examines the nature of such trade negotiations; the scale of the negotiating tasks confronting the UK; and potential approaches that may reduce the immediate negotiating load. It also identifies the countries that should be prioritized for trading negotiations, and examines the likely resources that will be required to undertake these.
July 2016 – Authors: Jim Rollo, Ingo Borchert, Kamala Dawar, Peter Holmes, L. Alan Winters
By electing to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom has chosen – among many other things – to leave the customs union (and the single market that includes all member states) and reassert its status as an individual member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In doing so, it will take sole responsibility for the control and governance of its external trade policy with all other WTO members (including the EU) within the framework of WTO rules. This paper explores the nature of those WTO commitments and how they might impact the UK from the date of its exit from the EU.
Open Britain – ‘New Partnership, New Challenges‘ Chapter by Professor L. Alan Winters on Trade under the ‘WTO model’ (March 2017)
Trade Sub-Committee of the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. Inquiry into ‘Australia’s trade and investment relationship with the United Kingdom’
Written evidence – UKTPO (no. 48, March 2017)
House of Commons Exiting the European Union Committee. Inquiry on the UK’s negotiating objectives for its withdrawal from the EU
Oral evidence – Prof Jim Rollo (21 February 2017) and Written evidence – UKTPO (21 February 2017)
Treasury Committee. Inquiry into UK’s future economic relationship with the EU inquiry
Written evidence – UKTPO (22 February 2017)
A guide to trade agreements – the challenge facing Theresa May, The House (31 January 2017)
What will Brexit mean for British trade? Prospect Magazine, 20 January 2017
National Institute Economic Review paper – Negotiating the UK’s Post-Brexit Trade Arrangements
House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee. Inquiry into Brexit: future trade between the UK and the EU
Joint ODI-UKTPO paper – The impact of the UK’s post-Brexit trade policy on development (September 2016)
Article – Negotiating Britain’s new trade policy (download requires login with free VoxEU account)
Prof Alan Winters and Prof Jim Rollo contribute to the VoxEU e-book ‘Brexit Beckons: Thinking ahead by leading economists’ (edited by Richard Baldwin).