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31 March 2020

Julia Magntorn Garrett is a Research Officer in Economics at the University of Sussex and Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory. 

On Wednesday 18 March, the UKTPO published a Briefing Paper in response to the UK Government’s consultation on the UK’s future applied Most Favoured Nation tariff.

In lieu of a public launch event, which had to be cancelled due to coronavirus, this blog outlines some excellent feedback we have already received and aims to open up the issue for further discussion. (more…)

March 31st, 2020

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30 March 2020 

Guest Blog by Ian Clarke, CEO of Excalibur Global Managed Services Ltd.

Following on from the previous blog by Erika Szyszczak on the new temporary adaptation of EU state aid rules in the light of the COVID-19 economic crisis, this blog discusses why the UK should take a cautionary approach to special aid being directed to the aviation sector. (more…)

March 30th, 2020

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Erika Szyszczak27 March 2020

Erika Szyszczak is Professor Emerita at Sussex Law School and a Fellow of UKTPO.

Recent weeks have seen the rapid implementation of measures to manage and maintain EU state aid policy during the COVID-19 crisis. Some Member States, including the UK, have adopted urgent measures to ameliorate damage to their economies. During the transitional period of the Withdrawal Agreement the UK must follow EU law and therefore the responses by the UK Government to the COVID-19 fiscal and economic crisis should comply with EU rules. (more…)

March 27th, 2020

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24 March 2020

Guest blog by Dr Sam Roscoe, Senior Lecturer in Operations Management and Research Leader for the Supply Chain 4.0 Hub at the University of Sussex.

COVID-19 has exposed a number of fundamental issues in grocery and pharmaceutical supply chains.  The grocery sector has been particularly hard hit because of its ‘lean’ just-in-time delivery supply chain model, panic buying and labour shortages. Over the past two decades, the UK grocery sector has adopted the lean, just-in-time, supply chain model from the automotive sector. This rapid replenishment model focuses on minimizing inventory and delivering new products to store shelves as soon as a product is purchased at the tills. The advantages of this system are lower inventory carrying costs, reduced product handling and smaller store rooms. The disadvantage, as seen today, is that any unforeseen surge in demand makes it difficult for stores to quickly replenish shelves as inventory is not readily at hand. (more…)

March 24th, 2020

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14 February 2020

Nicolo Tamberi is a Research Assistant in Economics for the UK Trade Policy Observatory. 

An important question arising from the UK’s decision to leave the EU is around the impact on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country, with many academics and commentators suggesting that exiting the EU may accelerate the decline of British manufacturing.

Car manufacturers such as Honda and Toyota came to the UK in the 1980s with the aim of selling to the whole European market. While the car industry is often used as an example, other industries appear to be affected by uncertainty as well. Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the board of Hitachi, wrote in the Financial Times: ‘We invested in [the UK] as the best base for access to the entire EU market’. The Japanese government’s letter to the United Kingdom clearly stated that for Japanese firms in the UK frictionless access to the European market is vital for their business. (more…)

February 14th, 2020

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22 January 2020

With the UK set to embark on a new era of global trade negotiations for the first time in living memory, the importance of minimising friction in trade and having zero tariffs and quotas is more critical than ever to small businesses across the UK.

In conjunction with the Federation of Small Businesses, we have produced a new major report (see summary slides) highlighting what small businesses need to capitalise upon from Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
(more…)

January 22nd, 2020

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20 January 2020

The Welsh Government has published an independent report completed by the UK Trade Policy Observatory analysing the potential implications for Wales’ external trade as a result of the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement.

The UKTPO analysis identifies issues that may impinge directly or indirectly on the Welsh economy as a result of the adoption of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland as part of the Withdrawal Agreement and subsequent Bill. (more…)

January 20th, 2020

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14 January 2020

Dr Anna Jerzewska is a independent customs and trade consultant, an independent advisor with the UN International Trade Centre and also a trade policy and customs consultant for the British Chambers of Commerce.

The UK is due to leave the EU on the 31st January 2020. A new stage of the Brexit process is set to begin – the transition period and negotiations of the future relationship with the EU. At the same time, work on the Northern Irish border arrangements is far from over. A newly established Joint Committee will negotiate the practicalities of implementing the Withdrawal Agreement.

Under the Withdrawal Agreement (“WA”), Northern Ireland would stay in the UK’s customs territory but would at the same time continue applying EU’s customs legislation, tariffs, quotas and, partially, EU Single Market rules. This will avoid a border on the island of Ireland but will mean a de facto customs and regulatory border in the Irish Sea. As a result of this dual status, goods shipped from Great Britain (“GB”) to Northern Ireland (“NI”) will be subject to EU tariffs if they are “at risk of subsequently being moved into the Union, whether by itself or forming part of another good following processing”[1]. What that means has not been fully defined within the text of the Agreement. Article 5(2) clarifies that all goods will be considered to be “at risk”, and thus subject to EU tariffs unless it is established that they will not be subject to commercial processing in Northern Ireland or they are otherwise exempt. This is one of the areas where the Joint Committee will need to introduce practical ways of implementing the agreement. (more…)

January 14th, 2020

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Michael Gasiorek12 December 2019

Michael Gasiorek is Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and a Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory. Nicolo Tamberi is a Research Assistant in Economics for the UK Trade Policy Observatory. 

Following Brexit, and assuming the UK is no longer part of a customs union with the EU, the UK will be able to sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with third countries. Indeed, the Conservative manifesto aims to have 80% of UK trade covered by FTAs within three years. This is clearly unrealistic, because it would require signing agreements with more than 12 countries within a time-scale which has rarely been achieved for a single agreement.  The objective, however,  highlights that, post-Brexit, there will be a lot of focus on trying to sign FTAs. Other than the somewhat significant matter of signing an agreement with the EU, top of the UK’s FTA wish list is an agreement with the US. (more…)

December 12th, 2019

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11 December 2019

In the lead up to the General Election, we have analysed the manifestos of the five main political parties and what they imply for future UK trade.

Overall, we find that the manifestos in this General Election are incoherent and vague on trade and contain several unachievable targets. (more…)

December 11th, 2019

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