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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

Posted In: UK - Non EU, UK- EU

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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

Posted In: UK - Non EU, UK- EU

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14 July 2020
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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

Posted In: UK- EU

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8 July 2020

Dr Minako Morita-Jaeger, International Trade Policy Consultant and Fellow, UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex.

Japan and the UK launched the Japan-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiation on 9th June. The two governments agreed to “work quickly to make the new partnership as ambitious, high standard, and mutually beneficial as the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement”.[1] As negotiations accelerate, there are three fundamental issues to consider when assessing the deal. (more…)

July 8th, 2020

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3 July 2020

A car constructed entirely of Korean components could be classed as Made in Britain under proposals put forward by the UK Government to the EU, our new analysis reveals.

As part of its negotiations over a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the UK is calling on the EU to allow it to escape EU tariffs on products made with imported parts from any country in the world that both the EU and the UK have FTAs with.

The UK Government is requesting that goods using inputs imported from third parties should be treated as if they had been made in the UK so long as the two relevant FTAs have equivalent rules of origin. (more…)

July 3rd, 2020

Posted In: UK- EU

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Erika Szyszczak29 June 2020

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

In response to the global economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic the European Commission has launched a major review of EU trade policy. The first act was to launch an inclusive online public consultation on a number of themes:

  • Building a resilient and sustainable EU economy after the coronavirus
  • Reforming the WTO
  • Creating global trade opportunities for businesses and in particular SMEs
  • Maximising the contribution of trade policy to addressing key global challenges: climate change, sustainable development, the digital transition
  • Strengthening of trade and investment relationships with key trading partners
  • Improving the level playing field and protecting EU business and citizens

(more…)

June 29th, 2020

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Image of Alan Winters12 June 2020

Simon Evenett is Professor of International Trade and Economic Development at the University of St. Gallen, and coordinator of the Global Trade Alert. He is an Associate Fellow of the UKTPO. L. Alan Winters CB is Professor of Economics and Director of the UKTPO.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted trade policy, along with everything else.  As nations scrambled this year to source medical supplies – equipment, drugs and personal protective equipment – 89 governments imposed 154 restrictions on exports. What is much less well known is that 154 reforms easing imports of these goods were implemented by 104 nations too. It took a pandemic for some policymakers to grasp that taxing imported soap makes no sense.

As well as up-ending trade in the medical goods, these policy shifts have the unintended consequence of providing the foundation for a new trade bargain between nations over medical supplies. As a sizeable and reliable exporter of these goods this matters for the UK and comes at the time when British ministers and officials want to showcase an independent trade policy. It is at times like these—when the big beasts of the world trading system are at loggerheads—that, traditionally, the free trading so-called middle powers lay the groundwork for the next trade deals. (more…)

June 12th, 2020

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11 June 2020

Dr Ingo Borchert is Senior Lecturer in Economics and Julia Magntorn Garrett is a Research Officer in Economics at the University of Sussex. Both are fellows of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, attention has shifted away from the economic implications of Brexit and towards what a post-COVID economy might look like.  This is understandable, yet by now it looks as if a hard Brexit might be just around the corner. Last week the fourth round of negotiations between the UK and the EU ended without visible progress, and the Government has repeatedly ruled out an extension to the transition period.  Thus, in spite of the continuing impact of COVID-related restrictions, it seems warranted to put back into focus some features of the UK economy that are likely to change after the transition period has ended.

(more…)

June 11th, 2020

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Erika Szyszczak8 June 2020

Professor Erika Szyszczak is Professor Emerita and a Fellow of UKTPO, University of Sussex.

Control over state aid is a stumbling block for the future of a EU-UK trade agreement. The EU is seeking dynamic alignment of any future UK state aid rules. This is a bold demand, especially since the EU state aid rules will be in a state of flux in the forthcoming years. But if no agreement is reached there are implications for domestic UK policy. (more…)

June 9th, 2020

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05 June 2020

Businesses should expect more paperwork, bureaucracy and additional costs on trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain when the transition period ends in seven months’ time.

The UK’s recently published Command Paper highlights significant differences between the UK and the EU and does not fully address the challenges which come from the special situation around that border, warns our latest Briefing  Paper – The unresolved difficulties of the Northern Ireland Protocol – co-authored by Prof Michael Gasiorek and Dr Anna Jerzewska. The paper highlights several areas where the UK’s interpretation of what was previously agreed appears to differ from the EU’s position. (more…)

June 5th, 2020

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