The British Bankers’ Association has published its latest Brexit Quick Brief – External trade policy and a UK exit from the EU – the UK’s WTO profile and beyond.

The Quick Brief explains that as a Member State of the EU, the UK’s external trade policy is in most respects made collectively with the rest of the EU. The tariffs that the UK levies on imports of goods and the basic guarantees of market access that it provides for importers of services from countries outside the EU are harmonised with the other states of the EU. When negotiating preferential trade agreements with other countries, the UK currently does so as part of the EU. Leaving the EU will require that the UK re-establish a trade policy of its own. As part of this the UK will need to:

  • confirm its place in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the establishment of its own external tariffs and the schedule of commitments for goods and services;
  • negotiate what is to happen to the large number of free trade agreements (FTAs) to which it is currently party by virtue of being an EU Member State. This includes its relationship with the EU itself, if this is to be replaced with a bilateral agreement such as a Free Trade Agreement;
  • ensure operational rights for foreign firms in the UK currently established under EU law are translated into UK law and practice as part of the Great Repeal Bill, ensuring mutual recognition of these rights where relevant; and
  • establish a forward agenda of new trade agreements that the UK will aim to seek with trading partners once it has left the EU.

The Quick brief discusses:

  • establishing a WTO profile for the UK;
  • whether existing EU third country FTAs can be translated to the UK;
  • the need to translate EU operational rights into UK law and practice; and
  • forging new trade relationships.

View External trade policy and a UK exit from the EU – the UK’s WTO profile and beyond, 10 May 2017