Brexit 'transition' agreement talks will not be for faint-hearted

Press quote (The Irish Times)
18 January 2018

British ministers, will need to seek “authorisation” from Brussels to continue benefiting from EU trade deals the UK would otherwise fall out of on Brexit day. This could be a real difficulty, Sam Lowe writes in a report for the CER. When it leaves the EU in 2019, even though entering a period of transition, the UK will no longer be a signatory to some 40 free trade deals that the EU has negotiated. These FTAs are with states receiving 11-15 per cent of UK total exports.

This could result in a scenario, Lowe writes, “in which UK exporters are no longer able to take advantage of the EU’s existing free trade agreements, but exporters located in countries with EU FTAs would continue to benefit from preferential access to the UK market on the same terms as now.

“To give a practical example: during the proposed transition, Korean car exporters would still be able to sell cars into the UK without being subject to border tariffs under the provisions of the EU-South Korea free trade agreement. UK car exporters selling into Korea, on the other hand, would no longer be covered by the agreement and would face Korea’s tariffs of 8 per cent.”