UK Trade with EU

Department for International Trade written question – answered on 23rd June 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the World Trade Organisation about invoking Article 24 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in the event that an agreement is not reached with the EU before the end of the transition period; and what progress they have made in establishing UK independent World Trade Organisation schedules.

Photo of Lord Grimstone of Boscobel Lord Grimstone of Boscobel The Minister of State, Department for International Trade, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

At the end of this year the UK will have recovered its economic and political independence. The question is whether we can agree with the EU a deeper trading relationship or whether we have a trading relationship based on the 2019 deal, without a free trade agreement (FTA), on the lines of Australia’s.

On leaving the EU on February 1st 2020 the UK took up its independent seat at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The UK’s independent schedules were submitted to the WTO for certification in 2018 in July (Goods) and December (Services), and when the transition period ends at the end of this year they will form the basis of the UK’s independent trade policy.

GATT Article XXIV permits the establishment of FTAs and Customs Unions as an exception to the most favoured nation principle, but it has no relevance without an agreement between the WTO members in question.

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