Brexit: Photo Courtesy of porta gda
Dr Gabriel Siles-Brügge, Associate Professor from the Department of Politics and International Studies opened up the debate by discussing whether Brexit would allow Britain to sign its own trade agreements, in particular with the EU and EU-countries. In analysing the difficulties associated with this possibility, he focused on two key issues getting in the way of 'taking back control'. The first was the set of inter-related trade negotiations that the UK would have to engage in before it can even start negotiating its own trade agreements. The second was the fact that the characteristics and even the existence of an independent UK policy would depend on the nature of the EU-UK arrangements.
Dr James Harrison, Associate Professor from the Law School moved to the UK’s post-Brexit trade policy with non-EU countries. Some of the difficulties involved in negotiating new agreements were explored, including the lack of a clear position about the UK’s trade policy with the EU - in particular whether it is or not going to stay in the Customs Union - and the obstacles involved in negotiating new deals through the WTO and with countries that already have a preferential trading arrangement with the EU, among others. The presentation finished with an invitation to the participants to get involved in the debate in order to think about how UK trade agreements could ‘work for everyone’.
Lastly, Markus Wagner, Associate Professor from the Law School explained the intricate relationship between the EU and the UK. He claimed that before any commitments with external partners can be made, there must be clarity of the relationship between the EU and the UK. A number of options exist in this regard, ranging from membership in the European Economic Area over various iterations of soft Brexit to a hard Brexit. Using a recent speech by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox during a WTO meeting, Markus showed to what extent the Trade Secretary's statements are in line with the current legal framework. The UK will continue to be a member of the WTO, but it is unclear what the relationship will look like before the negotiations with the EU are finalized. Furthermore, Markus touched on the capacity of the UK government, or lack thereof, to conduct negotiations at this point and to conduct trade remedies investigations.
Nearly 100 participants engaged in an active conversation with the speakers. Questions about the impact of Brexit on the future of the EU as an economic and political project, investors, small business, and European trade were raised. You can watch a video of the event below or via Youtube which will allow you to select individual talks.
If you are interested in further events such as this, please contact globe dot events at warwick dot ac dot uk.