World Economy

Britain’s WTO Terms Will Depend on Nature of Exit

Britain’s WTO Terms Will Depend on Nature of ExitBritain’s WTO Terms Will Depend on Nature of Exit

The terms of Britain’s future membership of the World Trade Organization will depend a lot on how it separates from the European Union, the director-general of the WTO said on Friday.

In the case of a “hard Brexit”, including leaving the EU’s customs union, some argue Britain can fall back onto WTO terms to govern its global trading relationships, Bloomberg reported.

Britain is a member of the WTO but once it leaves the EU, the bloc’s schedules of commitments—a list of its tariffs, quotas and subsidy entitlements—will no longer apply to Britain.

“Once they (the British) leave, legally the EU schedules no longer apply to them ... The other WTO members arguably could say: ‘I don’t like it. We should change this, or we should change that’,” Roberto Azevedo told a business seminar in Oslo.

“A lot will depend on the terms of separation in the negotiations between the UK and the EU. That may have a positive impact on how the other WTO members view this or not.

“I don’t think the global economy at this point in time can afford the luxury of more turbulence. The less turbulence we have the better. The quicker trade relations are established between the UK, the EU and other WTO members, the better.”

 May Angers EU Leaders

Theresa May has angered European leaders by telling her first EU summit that she expects Britain to be at the center of European decision-making until Brexit takes place.

In a brief speech at the end of an EU dinner in Brussels, the prime minister said Britain wanted to continue to play a central role in meetings and decisions until it leaves the EU.

The speech angered fellow leaders, according to Manfred Weber, leader of the Christian Democrats in the European parliament. He said: “When somebody wants to leave a club, it is not normal that such a member wants to decide about the future of this club. That is really creating a lot of anger about the behavior of the British government.

“If you want to leave please do so, but don’t decide for the European Union.”

He added: “It is not about institutions in Brussels, it’s about whether the British prime minister in the next years is still at the table, and the majority decided to not sit anymore on the center of the European debate, and that is not good.”

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