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29 May 2020

Policymakers should resist the urge to make kneejerk and wholesale changes to supply chains and global trade policy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, an economist with the UK Trade Policy Observatory has warned.

Professor Michael Gasiorek, a trade policy expert at the University of Sussex Business School, is advising governments against making trade policy responses to the Coronavirus crisis which could have longer-lasting and potentially negative implications in the post-pandemic future for the global trading system. (more…)

May 29th, 2020

Posted In: UK - Non EU, UK- EU

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28 May 2020

Sam Roscoe is a Senior Lecturer in Operations Management and Research Leader for the Supply Chain 4.0 Hub at the University of Sussex. He is an Associate Fellow of the UKTPO.

Boris Johnson has drawn up plans (codenamed Project Defend) to reduce the UK’s reliance on foreign countries for products that are deemed critical to the wellbeing of the nation. This follows a recent Fox News interview with President Donald Trump, who said “these stupid supply chains that are all over the world…..we should have them all in the United States”.  And, a recent article from The Economist (May 16th-22nd, 2020) that declared the end of globalisation, noting that the push to bring supply chains back home in the name of resilience is accelerating. Indeed, the pandemic has exposed that global supply chains are only as strong as their weakest link and is prompting a move from low-cost, overseas production towards the localisation of manufacturing.  (more…)

May 28th, 2020

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Image of Alan Winters27 May 2020

L. Alan Winters CB is Professor of Economics and Director of the UKTPO. Mattia Di Ubaldo is a Research Fellow in the Economics of European Trade Policies, and Palitha Konara is a Senior Lecturer in International Business at the University of Sussex. Both are Fellows of the UKTPO. 

COVID-19 and Brexit may appear as independent shocks but, in fact, they are interrelated. First, as the UKTPO and many others have argued, because COVID has disrupted the preparation for and conduct of negotiations on the future UK-EU trading arrangements, the UK government should ask for an extension to the transition period. This would allow the UK and EU to work out details of mutual cooperation that will be beneficial on both sides of the channel. (more…)

May 27th, 2020

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Photo of Emily Lydgate26 May 2020

Dr Emily Lydgate is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law at the University of Sussex and a Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.

The fundamental difference between the EU and UK positions on environment and climate is that of tradition (in the UK) versus innovation (in the EU). In fact tradition is somewhat of an understatement – the UK has made good on its aspiration for a ‘Canada-style’ deal by copying the environment chapter from that Agreement in its proposed EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) more or less verbatim. This chapter is relatively mild in the level of obligation it imposes. It requires parties to uphold and enforce their own domestic environmental laws, but only if failing to do so would encourage trade and investment. Violation of this commitment does not lead to trade sanctions or fines. This raises some questions. (more…)

May 26th, 2020

Posted In: UK- EU

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21 May 2020

Michael Gasiorek is Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and Julia Magntorn Garrett is a Research Officer in Economics at the University of Sussex. Both are Fellows of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.

Let’s start at the very beginning…

Suppose a country was (more or less) starting from scratch with its trade policy, and anticipated wanting to sign future trade agreements with other countries. What might you want from that country’s tariff structure? At the end of the day it is important to remember that tariffs are discriminatory taxes (i.e. they discriminate against foreign suppliers) which reduce competition, distort markets and lower national welfare. So, aiming to get to low (zero) tariffs is a good objective. But there may also be some other considerations. Here are some guidelines: (more…)

May 21st, 2020

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Image of Alan Winters20 May 2020

L. Alan Winters CB is Professor of Economics and Director of the Observatory, Michael Gasiorek is Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and Julia Magntorn Garrett is a Research Officer in Economics at the University of Sussex. Both are Fellows of the UK Trade Policy Observatory. 

On Tuesday 19th May the UK’s ‘Global Tariff’ was published. These are the tariffs that will apply on any products that the UK imports on a Most Favoured Nation (MFN) basis from the end of the transition period when the UK is no longer bound by the EU’s Common External Tariff. The published tariffs come after a public consultation on the subject was held in February this year.

This note summarises how the new tariff compares to the UK’s current MFN tariffs (which are also the rates that the UK has bound in the WTO for after the transition period) and outlines what has changed since the tariff consultation. (more…)

May 20th, 2020

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7 May 2020

Dr Anna Jerzewska is an independent customs and trade consultant, and Associate Fellow of the UKTPO.

While the world battles the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK Government’s decision not to request an extension to the transition period means that the UK and the EU have only eight months until 31st December 2020 to complete the talks on the future trading relationship. If a trade deal is not agreed by 1 January 2021 the Northern Ireland Protocol will take effect. The Protocol, which forms part of the Withdrawal Agreement, determines how the Irish border will work in the absence of agreement at the end of the transition period. A Joint Committee, a body established within the Withdrawal Agreement, is charged with, amongst other things, deciding how the Protocol will be implemented. The deadline for making these decisions is therefore fast approaching. (more…)

May 7th, 2020

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1 May 2020

An international agreement on vital medical goods that keeps import restrictions low and constrains the use of export bans could help ensure all countries have sufficient supplies for the fight against Coronavirus, our new briefing paper proposes.

According to the report, which was produced in collaboration with Global Trade Alert, a global bargain where exporting nations give assurances medical supplies will not be cut off arbitrarily and importing governments agree not to re-introduce their import restrictions would remove disruption and uncertainty around the availability of life-saving goods. (more…)

May 1st, 2020

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