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16 June 2021

Michael Gasiorek is Professor of Economics and Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex. Guillermo Larbalestier is Research Assistant in International Trade at the University of Sussex and Fellow of the UKTPO.

Indications of a trade deal between the UK and Australia first surfaced soon after the Brexit referendum. This week it was announced that the two nations had agreed on the broad terms of the deal. The news was accompanied by images of PM Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, bumping elbows (the new handshake, if you will) and exchanging chocolate bars over baskets of British and Australian products.

The deal has significance for several reasons. First, it is the first trade deal outside the EU that was designed from scratch. So far, UK trade agreements with other non-EU countries have been “continuity agreements” that were almost entirely based on pre-existing deals between the EU and the other nations (we include UK-Japan as de facto in this category). Secondly, it signifies the UK’s continued commitment to liberalising and opening trade, particularly with those countries with shared values, as part of its post-Brexit and Global Britain campaign. (more…)

June 16th, 2021

Posted In: UK - Non EU

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Erika Szyszczak31 March 2021

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

Trade has become a new tool of political and economic warfare.  Recent years have seen a rise in threats and the disruptive use of use tariffs, export and import bans to further political aims by the two economic superpowers, the US and China. Other countries wishing to assert greater political influence, such as Russia or Turkey, have joined the fray. Although the disputes are characterized as being between States, the real impact of trade wars is felt by businesses, workers, consumers and ordinary citizens. The impact is felt in the COVID-19 pandemic, where critical supplies of medical products or Personal Protective Equipment are essential in a health emergency. (more…)

March 31st, 2021

Posted In: UK - Non EU, UK- EU

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22 October 2020

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

The Japan-UK Free Trade Agreement will be signed soon, the UK’s first post-Brexit trade agreement. While the Agreement has a certain political significance, its economic impact is likely to be very small. This is because it contains very limited improvements relative to the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). While a detailed examination will only become possible once the text is put on the public domain, one of the key shortfalls in the agreement appears to be the treatment of investment. (more…)

October 22nd, 2020

Posted In: UK - Non 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

Posted In: UK - Non EU, UK- EU

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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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Photo of Emily Lydgate26 May 2020

Dr Emily Lydgate is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law at the University of Sussex and a Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.

The fundamental difference between the EU and UK positions on environment and climate is that of tradition (in the UK) versus innovation (in the EU). In fact tradition is somewhat of an understatement – the UK has made good on its aspiration for a ‘Canada-style’ deal by copying the environment chapter from that Agreement in its proposed EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) more or less verbatim. This chapter is relatively mild in the level of obligation it imposes. It requires parties to uphold and enforce their own domestic environmental laws, but only if failing to do so would encourage trade and investment. Violation of this commitment does not lead to trade sanctions or fines. This raises some questions. (more…)

May 26th, 2020

Posted In: UK- EU

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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).
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January 22nd, 2020

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25 February 2019

Julia Magntorn Garrett is a Research Officer in Economics at the University of Sussex and a fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.

Two weeks ago, the UKTPO called for further transparency on the Government’s current progress on replicating the existing agreements between the EU and third countries. On Thursday last week, Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox MP made a public announcement confirming that little had changed since he gave evidence to the International Trade Select Committee on the 6 February and that the progress has been minimal. So far, only six out of the 40 existing trade agreements have been signed, covering a total of 9 countries; Chile, Faroe Islands, Switzerland, Israel, Palestinian Authority, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe. One further agreement is close to being finalised, adding another 2 countries (Fiji and Papua New Guinea) to the list. This still leaves about 60 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries without continuity agreements.

Dr Fox also announced that some agreements will definitely not be in place for exit day, those with Andorra, Japan, Turkey, and San Marino. The agreement with Algeria is also unlikely to be ready. When it comes to numbers, the announcement is thin on details. The Department for International Trade states that the EU-FTA agreements account for 11% of the UK’s trade, a figure that seems low to start with. No further information is provided as to how important the signed countries are to the UK’s trade, or how much of the UK’s trade with the rest of the FTA group is still at risk if we have a hard Brexit in about a month’s time. This blog aims to fill some of these gaps. (more…)

February 25th, 2019

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12 February 2019

Dr Michael Gasiorek is a 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.

As a member of the EU, the UK is party to around 40 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with more than 70 countries. Over the last two years or so, the Government has stated that it intends to roll over, or more formally, ‘replicate’ these agreements. Indeed, in 2017 Liam Fox claimed that ”we’ll have up to 40 ready for one second after midnight in March 2019”. However, in recent weeks it has become clear that this is not going to happen,[1] and that at best there will only be a very small number of agreements replicated.[2] In this blog, we give some summary statistics outlining why this matters economically and which sectors are most vulnerable. We also discuss why, practically, very few agreements can be replicated by the current withdrawal date.

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February 12th, 2019

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Erika Szyszczak

6 February 2019

Professor Erika Szyszczak is a Professor of Law at the University of Sussex and Fellow of UKTPO.

The UK Government and Parliament are mired in political manoeuvres on what the post-Brexit trade landscape should look like, but it is business as usual in the European Courts, with a salient reminder that a “No-Deal” Brexit could leave the UK waiting for many years for a legally certain trade agreement with the EU. (more…)

February 6th, 2019

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