EU Commissioner Phil Hogan has said the UK’s no-deal tariff plans – proposals that would see no import duties levied on goods entering Northern Ireland across the border – likely breach World Trade Organisation rules. Mr Hogan, who is commissioner for agriculture and rural development, claimed the plans unveiled by Whitehall this week were “political” and designed to “change in the news cycle from the political chaos on London”. “I think they are incompatible with WTO rules,” he said of the plans, after arriving at an agriculture conference in Dublin. Mr Hogan added: “I think the timing of it was unfortunate and it was a deliberate attempt to put Ireland more on the agenda, as if it wasn’t on the agenda already.” Mr Hogan said there were “no more excuses” for Westminster not to ratify the deal. He noted that “intensive discussions” were taking place with the UK Government and the DUP and … [Read more...] about Phil Hogan: UK’s no-deal tariff plans likely breach World Trade Organisation rules
World trade organisation rules
There is no more popular piece of jargon in the Brexit debate than “World Trade Organisation rules”. Some cite them with approval, as a desirable destination for the UK upon leaving the European Union. Others portray them as a disastrous outcome that we should avoid at all cost. But what’s the truth about the WTO and its framework? And what precisely does it entail for the UK? What is the World Trade Organisation? It is a multilateral organisation with 164 members – almost every state in the world and certainly all the major economies. Its central purpose is to permit goods to flow across borders with relative ease. The key element of its agreements is that every member shall treat every other member equally in terms of tariff charges, meaning there shall be no arbitrary discrimination. So if country X, say, offers a lower tariff on a certain imported product to country Y it also has to automatically offer that lower tariff to every other country too. This is … [Read more...] about What are World Trade Organisation rules and what exactly do they mean?
Something strange happened to me the other week. I was heading to work on 20 November, listening, as I sometimes do, to the Today programme. It was all going swimmingly. Then, Peter Lilley came on and was a tad misleading about the consequences of a post-Brexit UK trading with the EU “on WTO terms”. So far, so absolutely normal. It’s not the first time I’ve been irritated by something I’ve heard on the radio, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last. So I tweeted my irritation and forgot about it. Until, that is, I got a call asking if I’d go on the BBC’s PM programme that day to discuss my reservations about what Lord Lilley had said. The response, all too characteristically, I’m afraid, was an attempt to play the man not the ball. On PM a few days later, Lord Lilley’s response was that “the Professor is not a professor of trade or economics … he’s a Remain campaigner effectively”. … [Read more...] about This is what Brexiteers get totally wrong when they talk about the World Trade Organisation
Applause rose up in the hall on Saturday as the leaders signed off on a final statement at the end of a two-day summit. The statement acknowledges flaws in the world trading system and calls for reforming the World Trade Organisation (WTO) - but does not mention protectionism because negotiators said the US had resisted that. The statement says 19 of the members reiterated their commitment to the Paris climate accord but the US reiterates its decision to withdraw. The non-binding agreement was reached after difficult all-night talks by diplomats. The US had been the main holdout on nearly every issue, officials previously said, as US President Donald Trump has criticised the WTO and taken aggressive trade policies targeting China and the EU. China also pushed back in talks on steel, South Africa objected to language on trade, Australia did not want the statement to be too soft on migration and Turkey worried it would push too far on climate change, according to the officials. According … [Read more...] about G20 Summit: Leaders agree to fix world trading system as US reiterates decision not to support Paris climate accord
Sputnik: What do you make on the latest on Brexit that a deal could be close? Janice Atkinson: The deal has always been closed for the past two months. Our remain Prime Minister is just playing us, it's just fear and staged managed delay, so she can announce in next 24 hours, I've managed to secure a deal. She's an embarrassment and made our country look embarrassed as well because she looks weak and nobody is buying the fact that she says this deal is on the table. We know they want a deal with us; Donald Tusk has already laid out a super-Canada trust deal, and why we haven't signed up to that I have no idea, the cabinet has no idea and the country has no idea. She's just selling us down the road as she remains Prime Minister. Sputnik: How worried are you that any potential deal could keep Britain aligned with the EU? Janice Atkinson: It's looking like it will be run by Brussels until at least 2022 … [Read more...] about MEP on Brexit Deal: ‘We Go to World Trade Organisation’s Rules’