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23 March 2021

Michael Gasiorek is Professor of Economics and Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex. Suzannah Walmsley is Principal Consultant and Fisheries and Aquaculture Business Development Manager at ABPmer.

Last week the UK’s trade data for January 2021 came out and the evidence was pretty striking. It showed a dramatic decline in UK exports and imports in January, and particularly so with the EU. Now some of this will have been driven by Covid-related lockdown restrictions, and some of the dramatic fall in trade with the EU itself may have been driven by firms’ stockpiling in November and December to protect themselves against the much-publicised potential border difficulties arising from the UK’s exit from the EU and the end of the transition period.

In this blog we dig a bit deeper into those numbers and focus just on fisheries. (more…)

March 23rd, 2021

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Photo of Emily Lydgate3 March 2021

Dr Emily Lydgate is Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law at the University of Sussex, and a Deputy Director of UKTPO. Chloe Anthony is a doctoral researcher at the University of Sussex.

This blog was first published on LSE British Politics and Policy.

Due to differences in underlying logic, there is much potential for trade and climate policy to conflict. Fundamentally, world trade rules and agreements aim to facilitate the free movement of goods and services, and restrict subsidies that distort trade. Climate policy, on the other hand, aims to support the low-carbon economy and restrict trade in high-carbon goods and services. The UK was the first country to put its climate target into law in 2008; it has met its first two interim targets for emissions reduction and is on course to meet the third in 2022. Yet analysis has shown that the first two emissions targets were met due to changes in accounting methods and the financial crisis, rather than due to effective policymaking. (more…)

March 3rd, 2021

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25 February 2021

Peter Holmes is a Fellow of the UKTPO. Guillermo Larbalestier is Research Assistant in International Trade at the University of Sussex.

The Government’s competition for proposals to create ten Freeports across the UK came to a close earlier this month with an announcement of the successful locations expected soon. Freeports are areas within a country that are outside its customs territory. Goods coming into the country via Freeports are exempt from paying tariffs until they enter the mainland or are shipped to another country. In the UK Freeports model[1] these areas may also be subject to special regulatory, tax, or subsidy rules. Such features may make the terms Enterprise Zone, Special Economic Zone or, the more general, Free Trade Zone more appropriate. The full details of all bids have not been published but summary reports indicate wide variety of business cases. (more…)

February 25th, 2021

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Erika Szyszczak18 February 2021

Erika Szyszczak is Professor Emerita and a Fellow of the UKTPO.

Traditionally, the legal enforcement of obligations was the Achilles heel of bilateral and multilateral international agreements. The EU has signalled that it wants to conduct international trade based upon the rule of law.  The demise of the WTO Appellate body since 11 December 2019 has focused the EU into using and bolstering its own Dispute Resolution mechanisms in international trade agreements. The significance of this approach is seen in the Trade and Co-operation Agreement between the EU and the UK 2020, containing innovative procedures for rebalancing the trade elements of the TCA (and ultimately cancelling them) if one side changes its standards in ways that materially affect trade. Such rebalancing can be triggered in several circumstances, including via periodic reviews of the whole trade relationship. (more…)

February 18th, 2021

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3 February 2021

Michael Gasiorek is Professor of Economics and Director of the UKTPO.  Guillermo Larbalestier is Research Assistant in International Trade, and Nicolo Tamberi is Research Officer in Economics, both for the UKTPO.

As widely anticipated and signalled in advance, the International Trade Secretary announced on Monday 1 February that the UK notified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of its intention to join. The CPTPP is a free trade agreement between 11 ‘Pacific’ countries which was signed in 2018.[1] This is an early step in the UK’s newfound and hard-won sovereign and independent trade policy. (more…)

February 3rd, 2021

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Alasdair Smith, author17 December 2020

Alasdair Smith is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.

If the UK leaves the EU transition period without a trade deal there will be disruption and delay at the borders in the short run; and in the longer run, there will be the economic costs of trade barriers for important parts of the UK economy like agriculture, food manufacturing and the car industry. There will be problems too for the EU.

The biggest obstacle to a deal is the arcane issue of the ‘level playing field’. Does this really matter enough to both sides to prevent an agreement? (more…)

December 17th, 2020

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Erika Szyszczak4 December 2020

Professor Erika Szyszczak is Fellow of the UKTPO.

The preoccupation in the final stages of the Brexit talks with an industry that contributes 0.12% to GDP and employs less than 0.1% of the UK workforce baffles commentators. Control over “our” fishing waters owes more to maintaining the British psyche rather than economic arguments.  Amidst fears that the traditional UK fish and chip supper could be at risk without a fisheries deal with the EU, the UK has put in place a series of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with four Northern fishing nations; Greenland, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. (more…)

December 4th, 2020

Posted In: UK - Non EU, UK- EU

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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. (more…)

November 20th, 2020

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Erika Szyszczak12 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. (more…)

November 18th, 2020

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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. (more…)

November 13th, 2020

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