28 April 2020
Ian Clarke is CEO of Excalibur Managed Services Limited and Professor Erika Szyszczak is a Fellow of UKTPO.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of global supply chains and the need for robust public procurement policy and procedures. (more…)
George Meredith April 28th, 2020
16 April 2020
Peter Holmes is a Reader in Economics at the University of Sussex and Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.
At the time of writing the UK is seeing food supplies returning to normal. It is worth asking what the experience of the first three weeks of lockdown can tell us about the causes of the apparent shortages and the implications for the future.
There is a hope that now everyone’s spare rooms are full of toilet rolls and cans of beans and the supermarkets are fuller, stocks will get back to normal. But it may not be quite as simple. Are shortages just due to excessive stockpiling or real supply constraints? And if the latter how does trade fit in? (more…)
George Meredith April 15th, 2020
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…)
George Meredith March 31st, 2020
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…)
George Meredith March 30th, 2020
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…)
George Meredith March 24th, 2020
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…)
George Meredith February 14th, 2020
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