On October 9, 2017, the British government issued a policy paper on the trade and customs arrangements immediately following the Brexit. Among them, the British government announced that it will establish a trade defense mechanism, while in the transition period will use the EU existing measures.
The policy paper also hopes to clarify future trade relations between Britain and other countries and its status as a member state of the World Trade Organization. However, the paper fails to answer the pressing questions that may have an impact on Hong Kong exporters. The transitional arrangements of the authorities may also be challenged in the WTO. The British government welcomes the comments made by relevant groups or individuals on their trade remedy proposals and future trade and customs laws by November 6, 2017.
In addition, on October 20, 2017, there are reports that the EU leaders have agreed to conduct an internal discussion and formulate guidance on the future EU negotiators for trade relations with the United Kingdom. The guidelines are expected to be announced in December.
The British policy paper mentions the following:
New independent trade defense agency: The policy paper mentions that according to the European Commission, only about 0.5% of the current EU imports are affected by trade defense measures, but these measures are extremely important to the industries concerned. Britain’s steel, ceramics and chemical industry are particularly vulnerable. Therefore, the British government looks forward to setting up a brand new independent trade remedy agency to handle anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguard investigations after the exit of the EU. The news coincides with the information released by a British government in August on a job advertisement.
From the low tax rules: For the EU will abolish the implementation of dumping and subsidies cases from the low tax rules, policy documents failed to account for the British government’s orientation.
Adoption of the existing trade defense measures in the EU: In order to minimize the impact on trade, the British government proposed interim measures to recommend the application of EU trade remedies that “meet the requirements of the WTO in the light of the importance of British enterprises and the level of local production.”
Role in WTO: The British government said it will strive to enjoy the right to submit and participate in trade disputes immediately after the Brexit in the WTO. The policy document also confirmed that Britain will continue to be a party to the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement and will support the negotiations on the GAC and the Agreement on Trade in Services in accordance with the current EU policy.