'Huge reservoir of goodwill for the UK' -WTO

There is “a huge reservoir of goodwill for the UK” from within the World Trade Organisation, according to the WTO’s Chief Spokesman Keith Rockwell.

With a no-deal Brexit looking increasingly likely as 29th March fast approaches, and Brussels resistant to renegotiations, the UK is getting ready to take control with a WTO Brexit that would include the UK preparing a set of tariffs for global trade.

Rockwell described the UK’s EU exit as “without any precedent at all in this organisation”.

Following on from what he told Sky News earlier this week: “Everyone is being pragmatic and wants to see trade to move as freely as it can as we get through this rather tricky stretch that might await us.

“We’ve never had a member, let alone a founding member, be in this position before, of having to renegotiate their position.

“When you examine this, it becomes devilishly complicated. Nobody expects this to be without complication.

Let’s wait and see – there is a huge reservoir of goodwill for the UK within this organisation.”

Meanwhile, the UK’s Permanent Representative to both the UN and WTO, Julian Braithwaite, has said: “The sort of issues we’re look at is how could we use the power we would have in the WTO to regulate our tariffs to minimise impact on consumers, supply chains and mitigate implications of leaving the EU without a deal – those are the sort of issues that are being considered.”

The WTO’s Article 24 in their General Agreement for Tariffs and Trade allows for a limited, continuing period of tariff-free trade between two sides negotiating a free trade agreement.

The UK already trades with many countries under WTO rules.

As Bristol Port recently set out: “65% of the cargo that Bristol Port deals with is non-EU, with the majority imported under World Trade Organisation rules.

“We remain confident that our systems and operations will continue to function smoothly and efficiently once we leave the EU and whether there is a deal or not.”

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