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Alasdair Smith, author17 December 2020

Alasdair Smith is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.

If the UK leaves the EU transition period without a trade deal there will be disruption and delay at the borders in the short run; and in the longer run, there will be the economic costs of trade barriers for important parts of the UK economy like agriculture, food manufacturing and the car industry. There will be problems too for the EU.

The biggest obstacle to a deal is the arcane issue of the ‘level playing field’. Does this really matter enough to both sides to prevent an agreement? (more…)

December 17th, 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


June 29th, 2020

Posted In: UK- EU

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Photo of Emily Lydgate21 November 2018

Dr Emily Lydgate is a lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex and a fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory.

Even if the draft Withdrawal Agreement is ultimately rejected, it provides more clarity on what the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) want in future relationship negotiations. Notably, it has prompted the EU to develop its call for a ‘level playing field’ in the areas of environmental and labour standards, State Aid and competition policy into a set of binding commitments now agreed by the UK Government. This blog examines the requirements for environmental standards and regulation. The EU has already indicated that it will seek ‘Level Playing Field’ commitments in any agreement, including a ‘Canada-style’ deal. These environmental commitments will likely comprise a minimum standard that the EU will require in any negotiated future relationship. (more…)

November 21st, 2018

Posted In: UK- EU

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