Following letters by Arthur Kay (August 24) and Alan Latham (August 31) on trading under WTO rules I write with some facts about the UK’s trading position after a no deal BREXIT on the 29th March 2019.
1) On 30th March 2019 the UK will join Eritrea, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, North Korea, Palau, San Marino, Somalia, South Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Tuvalu (and maybe USA) as trading outside WTO rules.
The likelihood of leaving under the WTO is not increasing as Councillor Latham wrote on 31st of August, it has never existed.
2) UK’s application to (re)join the WTO will be challenged by Australia, New Zealand and others who are unhappy with the UK-EU proposed UK and EU27 import quotas following BREXIT. Re-admission will happen and will take concessions and time - but ...
3) No country in the world conducts all of its trade under WTO rules (Mauretania was the last to do so).
4) Today the UK, trades with just 24 countries under WTO rules (not “most’) and even these have special clauses negotiated by the EU which improve on WTO rules in certain categories
5) UK, through the EU, has free trade agreements with 68 countries – add in the other 27 EU members and we looking at 95 markets that the UK will be trading with on worse terms or no terms as WTO rules do not cover everything eg aircraft parts.
6) If by WTO rules Arthur Kay (August 24) and Alan Latham (August 31) mean to rely on “Most Favoured Nation Status” – this needs to be made clear.
Every nation has this status and every nation tries to do better by joining a Regional Trade association such as the EU, Mercosur etc.
Trading as Most Favoured Nation means the opposite – Billy no mates.
Over the last two years we have all had to learn more about WTO, Isotope regulations, fisheries etc which cannot be a bad thing – as long as the facts are presented openly and fully. Details matter.