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Image of Alasdair Smith19 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…)

June 19th, 2017

Posted In: UK- EU

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24 May 2017

Compiled by Fellows of UKTPO

Brexit will leave many areas of UK policy open to change. International trade policy is among the most important of these for UK prosperity and also among the most immediate because the status quo cannot simply be extended. This is the fourth in a series of blogs reporting what the major political parties say about trade policy in their 2017 manifestos, as they become available.

The UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO) has set out a series of issues that it believes should be considered in any election manifesto that might form the basis of the UK’s future trade policy. The table below checks whether or not the Green Party Manifesto mentions these important elements explicitly or implicitly. Following that we offer a brief commentary on the treatment of trade policy in the manifesto.

A central aim of the Green Party is for the UK to remain in the EU, or at least in the single market. The former implies no change to current trade policies and hence little need to discuss them in the manifesto. Thus their coverage of trade policy beyond that with the EU is restricted to human rights and social and environmental conditions.

(more…)

May 24th, 2017

Posted In: UK - Non EU, UK- EU

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19 May 2017

Compiled by Fellows of UKTPO

Brexit will leave many areas of UK policy open to change. International trade policy is among the most important of these for UK prosperity and also among the most immediate because the status quo cannot simply be extended. This is the third in a series of blogs reporting what the major political parties say about trade policy in their 2017 manifestos, as they become available.

The UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO) has set out a series of issues that it believes should be considered in any election manifesto that might form the basis of the UK’s future trade policy. The table below checks whether or not the Conservative Manifesto mentions these important elements explicitly or implicitly. Following that we offer a brief commentary on the treatment of trade policy in the manifesto. (more…)

May 19th, 2017

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29 March 2017

New analysis shows that the nations of the UK are exposed to trade with the EU in quite different ways. If the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal the effects across regions will be quite different and this should therefore influence our trading priorities

Our Fellows have analysed trade data to examine the regional and sectoral impact of Brexit as well as the overall national impact.

Their findings, portrayed in a short video animation show that choosing trade priorities on the basis of aggregate UK data does not take into account the fact that the nations within the UK are exposed to trade with the EU in different ways.

(more…)

March 29th, 2017

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17 March 2017

Guest blog by Paul Eden, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex

Introduction

Now that the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act has received Royal Assent, the UK government is on track to meet its deadline of invoking Article 50 of the Treaty of European Union (TEU) by the end of March. Whilst it seems inevitable that the UK will indeed invoke Article 50 a key question that remains is whether we can change our minds and stop the whole process, perhaps when we are a year down the line or if there was a change in government in the UK. (more…)

March 17th, 2017

Posted In: UK- EU

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Photo of Emily Lydgate7 February 2017

Dr Emily Lydgate is a lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex and a fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.

While the UK government White Paper on leaving the EU may be light on detail, it does suggest that securing UK environmental protections is near the bottom of its list of priorities, with a scant dedicated paragraph (8.41). Compare this with its complete section on worker’s rights; or compare to the country of Wales, which includes maintaining social and environmental standards as one of six Brexit priorities. (more…)

February 7th, 2017

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Erika Szyszczak26 January 2017

Erika Szyszczak is a Professor of Law at the University of Sussex, Barrister and ADR Mediator at Littleton Chambers, Temple and a Fellow of theUKTPO.

It is a monumental decision for a Member State to leave the European Union, not least when it will have a major impact on the economic, political and social future, not only of the exiting Member State, but also of the global trading regime. It is thus befitting that on 24 January 2017 the Supreme Court came of age by delivering one of its most important rulings, on the nature and future shape of the UK constitution. What started as a case concerning acquired rights became a wider ranging analysis of the role of the executive vis-a-vis Parliament. As befits a monumental constitutional decision, taking place in the digital age, the responses to the ruling have been prolific and focused upon the constitutional dimension to the litigation. (more…)

January 26th, 2017

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17 January 2017

Dr Peter Holmes (Reader in Economics and member of the UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex), reacts to Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech on negotiating objectives for exiting the EU.

The speech essentially confirms what we knew already, that sticking to the government’s red lines on the European Court of Justice and free movement would make joining the European Economic Area impossible and so we must leave the single market. (more…)

January 17th, 2017

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19 October 2016L. Alan Winters

L. Alan Winters is Professor of Economics and Director of the UKTPO

Rule 1 for negotiation: work out what you want and how much you can pay for it. 

Rule 2: try to understand where the other side is coming from and how they feel.

The muted mood this week among trade specialists in Sweden, one of the UK’s closest allies in the EU, should serve as a reality check ahead of Brexit negotiations. If we want to make Brexit work, we need to take their views seriously. (more…)

October 19th, 2016

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30 September 2016Erika Szyszczak

Erika Szyszczak is Professor of Law in the School of Law, Politics and Sociology at the University of Sussex, and a member of UKTPO.

The “first 100 days” has become a standard by which to evaluate important political times. Undoubtedly, the momentous decision on 23 June 2016 to break up the current geopolitical space of Europe will be examined by historians as a decisive period of modern European history.

From a lawyer’s perspective the most striking feature of the last 100 days has been the legal uncertainty of how to implement the referendum result. This represents the challenge we love. So this blog examines some of these uncertainties. (more…)

September 30th, 2016

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