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BEXA Webinar Warns WTO terms Likely for UK

During a webinar hosted by the British Exporters Association, experts highlighted the potential that the UK will need to trade on WTO terms from Jan 1, 2021

Published on October 13, 2020

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BEXA, the British Exporters Association, hosted a Webinar on October 6, titled "Exporting: Brexit and the World Trade Organisation", which warned that the UK is likely to be trading on WTO terms come January 1st, 2021.

During the Webinar, Jessica van der Meer, a Barrister at 2 Temple Gardens, explained that "The EU and the UK are still quite far apart: fisheries, state aid and Northern Ireland remain sticky issues ... What that means is that on January 1, 2021, we will wake up in a Britain that is trading on WTO terms."

Discussing the implications and consequences of trading on WTO terms, van der Meer said that "It is going to take some time to negotiate any free trade agreements, particularly with the EU. Trying to do that within a year of withdrawing from the EU is quite ambitious. In that time, the UK will fall back on the WTO schedules… but these too will be undergoing negotiations." Continuing, van der Meer added that "The UK schedules will determine its imports, and other WTO members schedules will determine the price of UK exports. And that has real consequences, ranging from McLaren to your favourite healthy snack. Effectively, your orange is going to be more expensive come January 1, 2021".

Another presentation during the Webinar was hosted by Sandra Strong, of international trade firm Strong and Herd. Highlighting the importance of understanding WTO terms, Strong advised businesses to review how the regulations would impact their trading operations. Strong added that "We keep getting people saying that once we have a free trade agreement then we won't need customs entries, and we won't need to consider duties and taxes. Of course, that's not true: even with a free trade agreement, we will still no longer be part of the EU and we will have to have customs declarations when the goods leave the UK to go into the EU, and import declarations will be required to take goods into the EU, and vice versa. If you have suppliers in the EU, they will have to present export declarations for the goods to leave. And we will be having import declarations into the UK."

For more details on the Webinar, and on the British Exporters Association, go to www.bexa.co.uk.

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