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).
George Meredith January 22nd, 2020
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”. 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…)
Charlotte Humma January 14th, 2020
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…)
George Meredith December 11th, 2019
9 December 2019
L. Alan Winters CB is Professor of Economics and Director of the Observatory.
Our analysis finds that under the UK-EU Protocol on Northern Ireland, about 75% of Northern Ireland’s imports of goods from other locations, including Great Britain, would be subject to EU tariffs on their arrival in Northern Ireland. This is not easily reconciled with the government’s assertion that Northern Ireland remains within the UK customs territory.
Under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement’s Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland’s imports from the EU, including the Republic of Ireland, would face no tariffs. Among imports from elsewhere, the Protocol requires that any goods deemed at risk of moving to the European Union should be subject to the tariffs of the EU rather than those of the UK.
Relying on a a range of statistical data and informed assumptions, the analysis breaks Northern Ireland’s imports down according to the risk criteria in the Protocol and finds that about 82% of Northern Ireland’s imports from non-EU countries and approximately 64% of imports from Great Britain would face EU tariffs. Summing the contributions to Northern Ireland’s imports from the EU (25% of the total), the rest of the world (12%) and Great Britain (63%) suggests that, overall, around 75% of all Northern Irish imports will pay the EU tariff on entering the province.
While goods that are proved to have been sold to final buyers in Northern Ireland can have any EU tariff they have paid rebated, those rebates are likely to be difficult for the private sector to claim and are therefore unlikely to refund much tariff revenue.
Further, since Northern Ireland’s imports from the EU would not face any change under the Protocol but a large share of imports from Great Britain may newly face tariffs, it seems likely that, over time, Great Britain may lose market share in Northern Ireland, both to domestic supply and to increasing imports from the EU.
Further, a Free Trade Agreement between the UK and the EU would not completely avoid the problem. While goods produced in Great Britain exported to Northern Ireland and transiting on to the Republic of Ireland would face no tariffs, they would still need to satisfy rules of origin to prove that they had been produced in Great Britain. Hence there would still be administrative hurdles for such exports to jump.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the University of Sussex or UK Trade Policy Observatory.
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Charlotte Humma December 9th, 2019
24 October 2019
Michael Gasiorek is Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and a Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.
There has been some discussion that the unique arrangements outlined in the Protocol on Northern Ireland within the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU mean that Northern Ireland may get the best of both worlds – tariff-free access to both the EU Single Market and the UK market. This is because Northern Ireland will remain in the UK’s customs territory, however, for trade between Northern Ireland and the EU (and therefore the Republic of Ireland) the EU’s Union Customs Code will apply, with no tariffs or other restrictions. Northern Ireland will also remain within the EU’s single market for agriculture and manufactured goods.
The aim of this blog is to think through this carefully. (more…)
George Meredith October 24th, 2019
16 October 2019
Julia Magntorn Garrett is a Research Officer in Economics at the University of Sussex and Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.
In March 2019, Theresa May’s Government published a set of ‘No deal’ tariffs, designed to apply for up to 12 months in the event that the UK left the EU without a deal. The UKTPO described them in a blog and a Briefing Paper. On October 8, the new Government published an updated ‘No deal’ tariff schedule. This blog outlines the main changes, and recalculates various statistics, on the basis of the new tariff proposal. (more…)
Charlotte Humma October 16th, 2019
26 September 2019
Dr Peter Holmes is Reader in Economics at the University of Sussex, Director of Interanalysis and Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory. Interview by Kate Beaumont. This article was first published on Lexis®PSL Commercial on 5 September 2019.
How will the establishment of free ports enable the UK to benefit from Brexit trade opportunities? Dr Peter Holmes, reader in economics at the University of Sussex, considers the pros and cons of these special ports where normal tax and customs rules do not apply. (more…)
George Meredith September 26th, 2019
12 September 2019
Chloe Anthony and Dr Emily Lydgate – lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex and a fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.
The US remains top of the list of post-Brexit UK trade negotiations, with Boris Johnson recently putting a quick US deal as a first priority. The US’s strongly-worded negotiating objectives include loosening EU ‘non-science-based’ bans or restrictions on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), pesticides, food additives, hormone-enhanced meat, in addition to the infamous chlorinated chicken. As former international trade secretary Liam Fox conceded, a US-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that excludes food and agriculture is a non-starter from the US perspective. (more…)
George Meredith September 12th, 2019
Posted In: UK - Non EU
5 September 2019
Guest blog by Professor Yong-Shik Lee is Director and Professorial Fellow of the Law and Development Institute and Hiram H. Lesar Distinguished Visiting Professor in Law, Southern Illinois University School of Law.
In the last eighteen months, President Trump has re-introduced the use of national security arguments to restrict the USA’s international trade for commercial reasons. I recently warned that the US use of security arguments to justify its additional tariffs on steel and aluminum imports would create a dangerous precedent, and shortly after that, another major trading nation has indeed followed this precedent. (more…)
Charlotte Humma September 5th, 2019
Posted In: UK - Non EU
1st July 2019
Dr Minako Morita-Jaeger, International Trade Policy Consultant and Fellow, UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex.
The British and South Korean governments settled on an agreement in principle on ‘trade continuity’ on 10 June. Although there is no official information on its content or duration, Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State International Trade, tweeted that it would be a base for an ‘ambitious future free trade agreement (FTA)’ when the UK leaves the EU. If so, what would be possible options for such an FTA? And how realistic are these ambitions? (more…)
Charlotte Humma July 1st, 2019
Posted In: UK - Non EU