Clarifying Britain’s WTO Future: London and Brussels Discuss Post-Brexit Terms

Written by | Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Both the European Union and the United Kingdom are planning to announce their plans for the reform of the terms of the World Trade Organization (WTO) membership in fall this year. The two sides are also talking about sharing liabilities from trade disputes including the 13-year-old battle between the EU and the United States over billions of dollars in state subsidies to Airbus Group SE and Boeing Co.

The joint approach would specifically address aspects of the bloc’s WTO membership terms – known as WTO “schedules” – that are not easily split between Great Britain and the other 27 EU member states such as commitment on services trade, agricultural subsidies, and agricultural tariff quotas. The plan is that both Brussels and London would explain together how they would see the disentanglement of the United Kingdom from the EU commitment and schedules. This joint endeavor would also deal with Britain’s wish to join the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement, which liberalizes access to procurement markets among the members of the agreement. While the EU is a signatory, Britain is not.

Britain’s Brexit minister, David Davis, kicked off the first round of the talks in Brussels on Monday (17 July) amidst internal disputes within the British government over the Brexit terms. Moreover, the UK faces a hefty bill as it leaves the bloc to cover its ongoing commitments. One of such costs might be a provision to cover damages of the EU-US dispute over allegedly illegal subsidies to plane companies.

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