Meredith Crowley, Oliver Exton, Lu Han, 21 January 2019

Uncertainty over the future of the world trading system is at its highest since the introduction of GATT in 1947. The US-China trade war and suggestions that President Trump intends to withdraw the US from the WTO have significantly raised uncertainty in the global economy. Meanwhile, uncertainty over the future of the UK-EU trading relationship spiked on 15 January when the UK parliament overwhelmingly rejected the negotiated terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This column documents that an earlier period of heightened trade policy uncertainty for the UK – the period following the Brexit referendum in June 2016 – depressed the UK’s international trading activity, with some UK businesses choosing to not enter the EU market while others chose to exit. 

Giancarlo Corsetti, Meredith Crowley, Oliver Exton, Lu Han, 13 December 2017

As the recent UK Parliament Select Committee hearing revealed, there is a dearth of analysis of the sector-level risk to exports of a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario. This column presents an analysis by sector and product, and delivers both good and bad news. In a scenario where trade reverts to WTO rules, the good news is that one-third of UK exports to the EU will remain tariff-free. The bad news is that one-quarter of exports will face high tariffs and/or the risk of restrictive quotas or antidumping duties.

Hiau Looi Kee, Alessandro Nicita, 22 October 2017

More than a year has passed since the UK voted for Brexit. This column analyses the short-term fallout of trade in goods due to potential changes in trade policies. It argues that if the UK fails to secure a new trade deal with the EU and must face tariffs with no preferences, total UK's exports to the EU would drop by at most 2%. The impact is small because the EU's import demand for UK exports is fairly inelastic, especially for products that that may face higher tariffs.

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