Uncertainty for UK trade outside EU, says WTO chief
The UK outside the European Union would face uncertain trade relations, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In a BBC interview, the WTO’s director general, Roberto Azevedo, said Britain would not have the same negotiating leverage as the EU.
Britain could have to impose £9bn worth of additional tariffs on imports, raising the cost of living.
Exporters could face an extra £5bn of tariffs on their sales abroad.
Those figures for additional tariffs on goods going into or out of the UK come from the WTO analysis of preferential trade arrangements.
Under WTO rules, member countries are generally supposed to apply the same level of tariffs to goods wherever they come from. But there are exemptions for preferential regional and bilateral trade agreements.
So, we can allow into the UK goods duty free from the EU and from countries with which the EU has negotiated preferential deals. Such agreements are already in force for Turkey, Switzerland and South Korea, for example.