The Telegraph, June 4th, Michael Burrage
Last Friday, Professors Catherine Barnard and Anand Menon from an ESRC-funded think tank called The UK in a Changing Europe, tried to answer the question “what would trading on WTO terms mean?“
In essence, their answer summarized the results of a volume edited by them in December 2018 in which they and seven “experts in the field of law” spelt out in detail, and with some relish, the difficulties of trading “on WTO terms”.
They were writing in response to remarks by Jacob Rees Mogg who had, they said, “often lauded the possibility of falling back on the WTO in the event of a no deal Brexit.” All nine authors agreed that it “would make UK-EU trade significantly harder…..Tariffs will be charged, checks carried out, and service exports potentially rendered unviable.”
Surprisingly, in an ESRC-funded centre, formally committed to independent, non-partisan and impartial research, these experts made little use of it when dismissing Rees Mogg’s claim. Most researchers would probably start to answer the question they set themselves by examining the readily-accessible ONS data about UK trade, in both goods and services, with other EU members over the two decades 1999-2018, and comparing it with UK trade under WTO terms.
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