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14 June 2022

Mattia Di Ubaldo is a Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory and a Research Fellow in Economics at the University of Sussex Business School. Michael Gasiorek is Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory and Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex Business School.

The UK Government has published its bill on the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP), making a clear move to try to force changes in the arrangements disciplining the economic regime applying to the portion of the UK that has remained in the EU Single Market post-Brexit. The points of strongest contention between the UK Government and the EU concern the custom and regulatory checks applying to trade flowing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland together with a list of additional issues resulting from Northern Ireland remaining part of the EU Single Market territory: the regulatory regime applying to firms in Northern Ireland, rules on VAT, the use of state subsidies, and the role of the European Court of Justice in overseeing the NIP. (more…)

June 14th, 2022

Posted In: UK- EU, Uncategorised

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31 May 2022

Ruby Acquah and Mattia Di Ubaldo are Fellows of the UK Trade Policy Observatory and Research Fellows in Economics at the University of Sussex Business School

Tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) have intensified as the UK Government (henceforth HMG) announced plans to introduce legislation that would enable it to disapply parts of the Protocol.  The UK has often demanded the re-negotiation of the NIP due to its economic costs, and a too strict application by the EU. Recently, Assembly elections in Northern Ireland escalated the urgency of resolving the issue, as the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is currently refusing, as part of its protest against the NIP, to participate in the power-sharing executive. (more…)

May 31st, 2022

Posted In: UK- EU

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Share this article: Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail23 May 2022

Peter Holmes is a Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory and Emeritus Reader in Economics at the University of Sussex Business School

UK trade with Europe has significantly fallen off (see UKTPO BP 63 for an early assessment). UK GDP has fallen by 4%. If we cancel the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) – which is all the talk at the moment – the economic consequences of Brexit will get worse and let’s not even think about the political consequences. Is any of this fixable? Yes, if we look ahead to 2025 when the Brexit agreement with the EU—formally known as the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) —is up for its 5-yearly review. UK stakeholders, including political parties planning their manifestoes ahead of the next UK general election in 2024, should consider their Brexit positions now – but it’s not a case of leave or remain, rather a case of ‘tweak the Brexit agreement to something that better suits us’. (more…)

May 23rd, 2022

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Share this article: FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailImage of Alan Winters6 May 2022

L. Alan Winters is Professor of Economics at University of Sussex Business School and Founding Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory and Guillermo Larbalestier is Research Assistant in International Trade at the University of Sussex and Fellow of the UKTPO.

The concept is simple: cut tariffs levied on food imports so the products become cheaper in the UK, right? In this blog, we look at the trade data and discuss the reasons why changing tariffs would hardly affect prices.[1]

  • Only a small proportion of imports pay tariffs.

In 2021, the UK imported £38.6 billion of food products[2] (equivalent to 7.6% of the UK’s total imports that year and about 46% of UK food consumption). Approximately 66% come from the EU and are already exempt from tariffs under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).[3] (more…)

May 6th, 2022

Posted In: UK - Non EU, UK- EU

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Share this article: Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail10 March 2022 Photo of Emily Lydgate

Emily Lydgate is Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex and Chloe Anthony is a Doctoral Researcher and Tutor at the University of Sussex Law School 

From chlorinated chicken to sausage wars, food law has been highly contested in defining the UK’s post-Brexit direction. Not only is it seen as vulnerable to deregulation through trade agreements, the UK has faced new trade barriers with the EU and between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. These have concerned regulatory issues and have had an enormous impact on food trade. While much attention has rightly focused on Northern Ireland, departure from the EU’s regulatory union has provided a steep challenge in the rest of Great Britain, too. Food law is a devolved matter and Scotland has passed legislation setting out its intent to continue aligning with EU law, including for food law. (more…)

March 10th, 2022

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Share this article: Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail11 February 2022

Nicolo Tamberi is Research Officer in Economics at the University of Sussex and Fellow of UKTPO.

With trade data for the full year 2021 just released, we update our earlier estimates of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement’s impact on bilateral trade between the UK and the EU for the first year of the agreement. (more…)

February 11th, 2022

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13 January 2022

Image of Alan WintersL. Alan Winters is Professor of Economics and Founding Director of UK Trade Policy Observatory and Bernard Hoekman is Professor of Global Economics, European University Institute and Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory

It is widely accepted that international economic relations depend upon a smoothly functioning multilateral trading system. That trading system, institutionally underpinned by the World Trade Organization (WTO), can both stimulate economic activity and help to promote international cooperation in spheres such as climate change and migration. However, the WTO is becoming less relevant to a world in which services account for a growing share of trade, interest in environmental regulation (notably on CO2 emissions) is growing, and digital technology is reshaping our lives.

These issues impinge directly on international trade and thus fall within the broad remit of international rulemaking in the WTO. However, decision making in the WTO typically requires consensus from all the Members, which is difficult to achieve when Members have different ideas about what the appropriate rules for dealing with such challenges are. Thus, not only has it become difficult for countries to agree on how to move forward, but these differences are creating new tensions in the global trading system.

One solution that would help to overcome the impasse is to facilitate those within the WTO who want to change particular rules to proceed among themselves by signing so-called ‘plurilateral’ agreements. The WTO foresees two types of plurilateral agreements, depending on whether what is agreed applies on a discriminatory or non-discriminatory basis. (more…)

January 13th, 2022

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Share this article: FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailImage of Alan Winters 26 November 2021

Chloe Anthony is an ESRC-funded doctoral researcher in environmental law at the University of Sussex Law School. Minako Morita-Jaeger is a Policy Research Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory and a Senior Research Fellow of the University of Sussex Business School. L. Alan Winters is Professor of Economics and Founding Director of UKTPO.

Trade deals primarily aim to facilitate trade between countries by lowering barriers to trade in both goods and services. Many of these barriers are increasingly concerned with different regulations across countries and also with so-called ‘non-trade policy areas’ such as labour or environmental standards. The UK’s most recent FTAs – for example, the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership – aim for cooperation beyond trade.

The domestic impacts of trade deals – economic, social and environmental – can be significant, so it is important that UK trade deals are scrutinised domestically before they are signed. For example, trade agreements with larger partners, such as the EU or the US, may have significant domestic impacts. Even if aggregate impacts of a trade deal with one country are small, there still may be significant implications for certain sectors or groups within society. Also, the UK may sign an agreement with one country covering regulatory issues that may overlap or even conflict with a prospective agreement with another country – this requires debate and scrutiny. (more…)

November 26th, 2021

Posted In: UK - Non EU, UK- EU

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Image of Alan Winters8 November 2021

L. Alan Winters is Professor of Economics and Founding Director of the UKTP0 and Guillermo Larbalestier is Research Assistant in International Trade at the University of Sussex and Fellow of the UKTPO.

Key Findings:

  • To date, the UK government has signed no new trade agreements relative to what it would have had as a continuing member of the EU.
  • The Government estimates that the two agreements in principle announced this year (Australia and New Zealand) will increase UK Gross Domestic Product by between £200 and £500 million annually – that is, 0.01% to 0.02% (one to two ten-thousandths) of GDP or between £3 and £7 per head of population – and that only after they have bedded down over 15 years or so .

We were asked to sum up the economic benefits of the UK’s new post-Brexit trade agreements. Our first observation is that if we take as a starting point the trade agreements that the UK would have been party to as a member of the EU, the government has, to date, signed no new trade agreements! (more…)

November 8th, 2021

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Share this article: Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail29 October 2021

Michael Gasiorek is Professor of Economics and Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex.

The impounding of a UK fishing boat by the French authorities on Thursday is symptomatic of the tensions in the wider political relationship between the UK and France, which goes beyond the implementation of the fisheries part of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with the EU. It is also symptomatic of the political importance of the fisheries sector on both sides of the Channel. Brexit was about ‘taking back control’, and with regard to fishing, for the UK Government, that meant taking back control of UK waters. The actual agreement, however, fell far short of what the fisheries industry had hoped for. (more…)

October 29th, 2021

Posted In: UK- EU

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