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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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Michael Gasiorek15 December 2020

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

There has rightly been much talk recently about the disruption and economic damage that would result from a No Deal Brexit, and hence the economic importance of avoiding this outcome. This is on top of the economic havoc being wreaked by the Coronavirus pandemic. Despite this, we have seen the Prime Minister suggesting that No Deal would be a ‘good outcome’ for the UK and that the UK would prosper. How can this be squared? (more…)

December 15th, 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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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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2 October 2020

The UKTPO held its third annual conference on Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 September. The conference, under the theme ‘World Trade Policy: Back to the Future?’, addressed two of the most important issues in trade policy today.

Three presentations explored aspects of the as yet unknown UK trading regime after the end of the transition period, including the impact of uncertainty, the effect of tariff reversals, and the political economy of protection, respectively. Secondly, trade in the 21st century is ever more intertwined with other areas of public policy and, this year, two sessions explored the links between trade and the environment. Lastly, the conference concluded with a Roundtable discussion on trade and economic cohesion in the UK after Brexit. (more…)

October 2nd, 2020

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2 October 2020

This Trade Finance Talks podcast was first published on Trade Finance Global on 29 September 2020.

Trade is a force for good, but with the current COVID-19 pandemic, the World Trade Organization facing its biggest challenges yet, and a turn towards protectionism in many economies, the current trade outlook is unsettling, and uncertain.

The UK’s trading regime after the end of the transition period yields much uncertainty and potential tariff reversals in just a few months. In this episode of Trade Finance Talks, Deepesh Patel and Professor L. Alan Winters discuss the power of good trade policy, how trade negotiations are done, and how to mitigate the negative effects of trade.

(more…)

October 2nd, 2020

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Guest blog by Emily Jones, Associate Professor in Public Policy and Director of the Global Economic Governance Programme and Anna Sands, Research Officer of the Global Economic Governance Programme both at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

30 September 2020

In the next few weeks Parliament will decide how much scrutiny it has over the UK’s future trade deals. The Trade Bill is currently in the House of Lords, and a series of amendments have been tabled that aim to strengthen Parliament’s role.

As things stand, Parliament’s role will be minimal. The negotiation and ratification of international trade agreements falls under the Royal Prerogative – the making of international treaties is one of the few actions that Ministers can take without the approval of Parliament. (more…)

September 30th, 2020

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28 July 2020

Peter Holmes is a Reader in 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.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) Freeports consultation document states duty inversion as one of the four core benefits of a Freeport: “If the duty on a finished product is lower than that on the component parts, a company could benefit by importing components duty free, manufacture the final product in the Freeport, and then pay the duty at the rate of the finished product when it enters the UK’s domestic market.” (more…)

July 28th, 2020

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14 July 2020
Image of Alasdair Smith

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

There were no surprises in yesterday’s government announcement of the post-Brexit ‘points-based’  immigration rules (except for those who thought that a provision for health and care might actually cover social care workers).

The government’s stated objectives are “flexibility and control over our borders”. However, an essential feature of the points-based scheme is that it is not actually operated at the border, but in the jobs market through the rules that non-UK employees must satisfy in order to take up a job offer in the UK. EU citizens will continue to have visa-free entry to the UK: the change for them is in their right to take up employment in the UK. (In all of this, Irish citizens are treated the same as UK citizens, and indeed EU citizens in Ireland can enter the UK without passport checks.) (more…)

July 14th, 2020

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