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1 July 2020

Jaime de Melo is Emeritus Professor at the University of Geneva and a Researcher at the International Growth Centre.

Africa is the last continent to be hit by COVID-19. Toward the end of June, reported cases neared 300,000 and deaths 8,000 across the 54 countries. Coordination across countries has been low in spite of the cross-border nature of the pandemic and its effects.  The Regional Economic Communities (RECs), whose principal function was coordinating trade policy, and other supra-national institutions provide the institutional framework for the needed cooperation and joint action. The latter has proved difficult in the past, but recent actions give hope that COVID-19 might be the spark to start implementing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in earnest. (more…)

July 1st, 2020

Posted In: UK - Non EU

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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

Posted In: UK - Non EU, UK- EU

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29 May 2020

Policymakers should resist the urge to make kneejerk and wholesale changes to supply chains and global trade policy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, an economist with the UK Trade Policy Observatory has warned.

Professor Michael Gasiorek, a trade policy expert at the University of Sussex Business School, is advising governments against making trade policy responses to the Coronavirus crisis which could have longer-lasting and potentially negative implications in the post-pandemic future for the global trading system. (more…)

May 29th, 2020

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Image of Alan Winters27 May 2020

L. Alan Winters CB is Professor of Economics and Director of the UKTPO. Mattia Di Ubaldo is a Research Fellow in the Economics of European Trade Policies, and Palitha Konara is a Senior Lecturer in International Business at the University of Sussex. Both are Fellows of the UKTPO. 

COVID-19 and Brexit may appear as independent shocks but, in fact, they are interrelated. First, as the UKTPO and many others have argued, because COVID has disrupted the preparation for and conduct of negotiations on the future UK-EU trading arrangements, the UK government should ask for an extension to the transition period. This would allow the UK and EU to work out details of mutual cooperation that will be beneficial on both sides of the channel. (more…)

May 27th, 2020

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1 May 2020

An international agreement on vital medical goods that keeps import restrictions low and constrains the use of export bans could help ensure all countries have sufficient supplies for the fight against Coronavirus, our new briefing paper proposes.

According to the report, which was produced in collaboration with Global Trade Alert, a global bargain where exporting nations give assurances medical supplies will not be cut off arbitrarily and importing governments agree not to re-introduce their import restrictions would remove disruption and uncertainty around the availability of life-saving goods. (more…)

May 1st, 2020

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Erika Szyszczak28 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…)

April 28th, 2020

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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…)

April 15th, 2020

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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…)

March 30th, 2020

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Erika Szyszczak27 March 2020

Erika Szyszczak is Professor Emerita at Sussex Law School and a Fellow of UKTPO.

Recent weeks have seen the rapid implementation of measures to manage and maintain EU state aid policy during the COVID-19 crisis. Some Member States, including the UK, have adopted urgent measures to ameliorate damage to their economies. During the transitional period of the Withdrawal Agreement the UK must follow EU law and therefore the responses by the UK Government to the COVID-19 fiscal and economic crisis should comply with EU rules. (more…)

March 27th, 2020

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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…)

March 24th, 2020

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