Friday, 14 October 2016

More on that letter..

As well as the BRC getting it wrong about tariffs under the WTO rules, they appear to have got it wrong about "falling back on to WTO rules" as well.

The problem, as outlined here, is that the UK isn't a full member of the WTO in its own right, but only through the EU, and so leaving the EU and "falling back on to WTO rules" would not be a quick or a simple process. The WTO may be "an advisory/co-ordinating body rather than a supra-national quasi-government", as Mark points out, but it is still bureaucratic and operates by consensus, which means everyone has a veto.

So let's hope that we manage to remain part of EFTA and the Tories don't cock that up as well.


Mark Wadsworth said...

B, are you sure?

a) From THe WTO...

This page gathers information on the United Kingdom's participation in the WTO. The United Kingdom has been a WTO member since 1 January 1995 and a member of GATT since 1 January 1948. It is a member State of the European Union (more info). All EU member States are WTO members, as is the EU (until 30 November 2009 known officially in the WTO as the European Communities for legal reasons) in its own right.

b) Can new members only join with unanimous approval of all 164 other members? Apart from the EU, who would be spiteful enough to block us? What happens if we aren't in the WTO? Does it make much difference?

Mark Wadsworth said...

From the article to which you linked:

This is not an argument for or against Brexit. Proponents on either side can weigh up the costs and benefits and make their own cases. But they cannot assume that becoming an independent WTO member will be simple and quick for the UK.

The only way it could, would be if a post-Brexit UK became — as some propose — much more of a free trader, with low import duties across the board, and minimal subsidies for farmers. This would be simple to establish in the WTO, but domestic opposition would have to be overcome first.

Sounds good to me!

Bayard said...

"Does it make much difference?"

Well it all depends on which wins the battle of spite versus commercial sense in the EU countries. As I said long before anyone had even heard of "Brexit", "hell holds no fury like a eurocrat scorned" - the big danger in leaving would be spite winning the battle.

Personally, I think sense will win the day except amongst eurocrats and, possibly, the French government. Remember Schauble admitting that he'd promised nasty things for the UK after a potential exit simply because George Osborne asked him to?