While supporting the U.K.’s right to establish its own World Trade Organization schedules to provide a seamless transition upon the nation’s exit from the European Union, representatives from the aforementioned countries noted concern with media reports about the possibility of a bilateral agreement between the United Kingdom and the E.U.-27 countries about splitting tariff rate quotas based on historical averages.
“We would like to record that such an outcome would not be consistent with the principle of leaving other World Trade Organization members no worse off, nor fully honor the existing TRQ access commitments,” the signatories noted. “Thus, we cannot accept such an agreement.”
The proposed plan calls for the existing E.U. TRQs to be split between the European Union and the United Kingdom after Brexit based on historical imports and consumption. But the signatories in the letter noted that the plan would be unfair, in part because it would allow the European Union to reduce its obligations to other WTO members while also establishing a low bar for the United Kingdom. The European Union and United Kingdom are expected to present their plant to other WTO members later this month at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
The signatories in the letter said the TRQs were achieved “through a delicate balance of concessions and entitlements that is fundamental to the global trade architecture today.”
“As countries that are holders of Country-Allocated Tariff Rate Quotas into the European Union market, and users of the Most Favored Nation Tariff Rate Quotas, as well as holders of initial negotiating rights, and principal and substantial interests in several concessions, we attach a particular importance to the stability and continuity of those rights,” the letter noted.
In the letter, the signatories indicated that they expect that the United Kingdom and the European Union will act to ensure that countries entitled to certain rights will be left “no worse off than they are at present, in terms of both the quantity and quality of access.”
The signatories noted that the modification of the TRQ access arrangements cannot credibly be achieved through a technical rectification.
“None of these arrangements should be modified without our agreement,” the signatories said. “In this context, we expect a high degree of transparency through the sharing of relevant information and data.”
The signatories concluded the letter by saying they are willing to engage “constructively and creatively” to help the United Kingdom to establish its WTO goods schedule.