Welcome to the UK Trade Policy Observatory

Following the decision to leave the EU, the UK needs to reconfigure its trade policy, successfully navigating a path through a new international trade landscape. The UK Trade Policy Observatory aims to ensure that new trade policies are constructed in a manner that benefits all.

For over four decades, the EU has handled most elements of international trade policy on Britain’s behalf. Brexit changes all that and there is now an urgent need to debate and define the UK’s place in the international trading system and then to negotiate it with our partners. This requires expert analysis, commentary and inputs from people experienced in trade policy formation and practice.

The UK Trade Policy observatory (UKTPO), a partnership between the University of Sussex and Chatham House, is an independent expert group that:

1) Initiates, comments on and analyses trade policy proposals for the UK;

2) Trains British policymakers, negotiators and other interested parties through tailored training packages.

Created in June 2016, the UKTPO is committed to engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders 
to ensure that the UK’s international trading environment is reconstructed in a manner that benefits all in Britain and is fair to Britain, the EU and the world.

Latest Briefing Paper - Maintaining the UK internal market for food standards: fragmentation, cooperation or control?

Trade policy animated videos

Our videos help to explain the effects of Brexit.

Gains from trade (part 2) looks at why trade results in winners and losers. Specialisation and the competition it creates in and between firms will mean some firms benefit whilst others struggle to adapt and / or compete. These firms may be forced to cut jobs or even close down and this, in turn, impacts on the workers and regions where those firms are located. But trade is only one factor that leads to winners and losers. Technology, for example, has had a significant impact. We show that various policies can help to mitigate the negative effects of trade on workers and regions and how these can be better than protectionism.

More trade explainers are available on our animations page:

  • Free ports fact-checked
  • Brexit: Where does it hurt?
  • Rolling over the EU’s Free Trade Agreements
  • The Single Market
  • Customs Union
  • UK trade with the EU

November 25th, 2016

Posted In:

Share this article: 20 November 2020 Michael Gasiorek is Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and Director of the UKTPO. Discussions and evaluations on the future UK-EU relationship have been on-going since the referendum of June 2016, and we are close to another milestone – by the end of the year, we will either have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU or no-deal. Note this is a milestone and not the endgame. Whether or not there is an agreement there will still be considerable practicalities to resolve, and no doubt some areas will be open to future negotiation. There is a lot of talk in the press about sticking points (fisheries, state aid and level playing field provisions, dispute settlement) but how good the deal is for the UK will depend on the scope and the depth of what is agreed, and whether some areas are only notionally covered and need to be sorted out in future negotiations.

November 20th, 2020

Posted In: UK- EU

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Share this article: 12 November 2020 Professor Erika Szyszczak is a Fellow of UKTPO In its avowed Global Britain Project the UK promised that Ukraine would be given preferential status in the post-Brexit trade landscape. Finally, on October 8, 2020 the UK and Ukraine signed a Political, Free Trade and Strategic Partnership Agreement (the Agreement). This is the first comprehensive strategic and trade agreement signed by the UK since the creation of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, but one of several continuity agreements. The political symbolism of the Agreement is of greater significance than the economic impact of the Agreement, with Ukraine and the UK keen to show that they are independent, sovereign trading nations.

November 18th, 2020

Posted In: Uncategorised

Leave a Comment

Share this article: 13 November 2020 Guest blog by Emily Jones, Associate Professor in Public Policy, and Beatriz Kira, Senior Research and Policy Officer, both at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.  The Government’s new approach to digital trade deserves close scrutiny. It has described the new digital provisions in the UK-Japan agreement as going “far beyond the EU’s” to make the deal “truly cutting-edge”. Digital trade is a priority in negotiations with the US too. Earlier this week a spokesperson said the UK and US have already agreed provisions on digital trade and data that are “forward-leaning” and argued that this would make a UK deal attractive to the new Biden administration.

November 13th, 2020

Posted In: UK - Non EU, UK- EU

Tags: ,

Leave a Comment