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14 August 2017

After Brexit, the UK will have to leave the EU Customs Union (CU) and become a legally separate customs territory. It might then, however, seek to create a new Customs Union with the EU to cover their mutual trade.

The UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex (UKTPO) has produced this short animated video that explains what this entails, and what kind of an agreement the UK and the EU would need to establish in order to achieve the same level of trade costs as we have now.

Ultimately, the video explains, a Customs Union will not produce ‘frictionless’ trade without re-creating several aspects of current EU membership. With Brexit negotiations already underway, it emphasises that maintaining a customs union is just one part of the story; and not, by itself, the be all and end all for achieving a smooth trading process.

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  • Tim McNamara says:

    Presumably, the UK will have to set up a Commercial Defence investigatory body to oversee anti-dumping (AD) and anti-subsidy (AS) investigations as well as for safeguard measures as a result of complaints by UK industry in line with WTO rules and to monitor undertakings concerned the previous. It will also require monitoring of AD and countervailing measures arising out of AS investigations by other countries

    It will also have to set up a grouping that will investigate trade barriers (that are not related to AD or AS investigations) in other countries that are unfairly discrimination against UK exports contrary to WTO rules. it will also require individuals to work on It will have to upgrade its representation at the WTO in Geneva.

    All these responsibilities are currently carried out at EU level.

  • Tom Brake says:

    I will ask some parliamentary questions to see whether the Government have any idea of the cost associated with these extra staffing requirements

  • Sebastian Remøy says:

    Excellent video inserting clarity into the pros and shortcomings of a customs union agreement.
    I agree that the UK will have to establish new legal and administrative structures to handle trade defense instruments such as anti-dumping and countervailing duties. This will need to be done quickly for particularly sensitive industries, that rely on protection via EU instruments. Between March 2019 and subsequent UK investigation of dumping and subsidization of key sectors, and then imple-mentation of new trade defence instruments certain sectors & geographies will be very vulnerable. This can take several years. EG, how will the steel industry in South Wales be protected in the interim.

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