FUW seeks clarification on tariff proposals that appear to breach WTO rules


The Farmers' Union of Wales has written to the UK Treasury asking for clarification after the UK Government published no-deal Brexit proposals which appear to fly in the face of World Trade Organisation rules.

According to the UK Government's website, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, tariffs and Tariff Rate Quotas would apply to a range of products, but "...The UK’s temporary import tariffs will...not apply to goods crossing from Ireland into Northern Ireland."

Speaking after a meeting of Committee Chairs and Vice Presidents, FUW Head of Policy Nick Fenwick said: "Press reports that tariffs would be charged for a variety of imported goods in the event of a no-deal Brexit except those crossing from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland have caused all sorts of confusion, and were assumed to be down to a misinterpretation by reporters.

"However, the Government website states clearly that this would be the case."

Dr Fenwick said that this appeared to fly in the face of World Trade Organisation and EU rules.

"If the Government said it was going to apply tariffs to all imports except those entering the UK from Germany, without any form of trade deal in place, this would clearly be a breach of WTO rules. It would also go against the rules of the EU because Germany is in the Single Market.

"The same principle applies to imports or movements of goods from any EU Member State, including the Republic of Ireland - irrespective of whether the border is on the land or in the sea."

Dr Fenwick said that the Government statement made no sense and effectively advertised a back-door for smugglers.

"We have written to the Treasury to seek clarification, and are happy to stand corrected if there is some form of rational way of doing this, but it appears to undermine the very principles on which WTO rules are based.

"However, if we are right a correction and explanation which sets the record right in the press must be issued as soon as possible."

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