Joachim Lang, director-general of Germany’s BDI industry federation, warned that the UK and EU do not have much time left to strike a deal.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Lang said: “We have reached a critical phase. The time that remains is incredibly short.”
Mr Lang said the two sides are not prepared for the outcome if there is no deal.
He said: “In a no-deal scenario, and without a transition phase, we would end up with a border and customs regime that no one is prepared for.”
Source: Brexit news: German businesses urge UK to soften negotiation stance | UK | News | Express.co.uk
Staying in the WTO is potentially important so that British companies can still bid for government work in the United States, European Union and Japan. Britain is a member of the agreement now only by virtue of its EU membership.
In letters published by the WTO on Tuesday, the EU and British ambassadors said Britain would make an offer on the degree to which it was willing to open its own procurement markets in return for continued membership.
The 46 countries in the agreement have liberalised access to each other’s markets, with an estimated $1.7 trillion annual spend. China is hoping to join, which could add a further incentive for membership.
British officials have previously said that rolling over membership of the agreement should be relatively easy, since there was an incentive for other members to retain their access to Britain’s procurement market, too. But any negotiation in the WTO can be an opportunity to make new demands.
A British trade official told Reuters in March that a draft offer had already been circulated, part of a strategy of trying to minimise the disruption of Brexit at the WTO.
The Geneva-based WTO is already in crisis because of a potential global trade war and a U.S. block on new judicial appointments.
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said last year that Brexit was going to be “a bumpy road”, but just how bumpy would depend on many things, including negotiations with the EU.
British hopes for a smooth transition at the WTO have already been dashed by disagreement in agriculture, where major suppliers are unhappy with losing the flexibility they have enjoyed with the EU as one market of 28 countries.
Source: Britain asks to join WTO procurement deal in latest Brexit step | Reuters
The debate around the UK’s level of involvement in the EU single market after Brexit may lead to a significant u-turn in government policy. Having initially said it would not seek a customs union with the EU after Brexit (after leaving the full, existing customs union), it looks as though the UK government’s position is softening. Given the alternatives to the single market that are available to the UK, a potential u-turn is welcome.
Leaving the single market but agreeing to a customs union doesn’t rule out the UK making its own trade deals. However, it should be careful what it wishes for. Freedom comes at a price. A customs union only covers trade in goods, so the UK would need an umbrella agreement to cover its other arrangements with the EU.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) sets out the basics in Article XXIV of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT). In essence, a customs union is where tariffs are removed between members of the union, and the tariffs charged on imports coming from outside the union are harmonised across members of the union. This definition seems straightforward but when you dig deeper into Article XXIV, you find that while these rules apply to trade in goods, they say nothing about services – which are of course very important for the UK.
Source: A customs union would free the UK to strike trade deals – but it doesn’t solve every Brexit problem : The Conversation
FOR the past few months many have doubted the words which stood out from Theresa May’s Chatham House speech back in January: “No deal is better than a bad deal.”
Source: No deal really is better than a bad deal with Brussels says ROSS CLARK | Express Comment | Comment | Express.co.uk
GENEVA (Reuters) – The European Union and Britain plan to put forward a joint proposal for reform of the terms of their World Trade Organization (WTO) membership in September or October, an EU source said on Monday, as London negotiates to leave the EU.
The two sides are also discussing sharing liabilities from trade disputes including WTO litigation over Airbus subsidies in a long-running case with the United States, the EU source said.
“Currently we are in talks with the United Kingdom to come to a joint approach on the matter, on all the aspects of the divorce, with regard to the WTO. And I would think that, come the month of September/October, we will be able to come jointly to the rest of the (WTO) membership,” the EU source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Source: EU and Britain to present post-Brexit plan on WTO membership
It would be wrong to hope that either domestic or international checks and balances will constrain Trump abroad. Geopolitically, the result would be unpredictable – at best.
Source: What would a Trump presidency mean for the rest of the world?
Barack ObamaEUfascismThe EconomistTTIPUSWorld Trade Organisation
Source: Obama Tries to Ram His TTIP Down Europeans’ Throats – The Duran
As Britons debate whether to stay in or leave the European Union at a membership referendum, one of the key arguments is what a British exit, or “Brexit”, would look like?
Source: Factbox – What would ‘Brexit’ look like? | Reuters