‘The EU, The UK and Global Trade – A New Roadmap’

A UK-EU FTA is the BEST DEAL for both the UK and EU

WTO trade is best alternative to a negotiated FTA. Leading academic trade lawyer explains next steps and options in new Politeia publication.

Publication: Wednesday 5th June 2019 

PDF: The EU, The UK and Global Trade – A New Roadmap

The change of prime minister has opened the way to a Brexit that will bring a brighter economic and trade future to the UK, explains Politeia’s new publication The EU, The UK and Global Trade – A New Roadmap. In it, the author, David Collins, Professor of International Economic Law at City University, proposes that:

  • The UK should prepare itself for departure from the EU for 31 October without a formal trade deal with the EU.
  • A WTO-Brexit should not cause major disruptions. It is therefore an entirely feasible course of action given the scope of the WTO’s coverage on trade – and the funds which will be freed up from the EU divorce bill.
  • The UK should pursue a Free Trade Agreement with the EU in conjunction with its no deal preparations. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) – the ‘Canada Deal’- should be the starting point but with improved access for services.
  • While concluding FTAs is never easy, the UK’s FTAs with third states should fall into place over time, especially once the UK’s standing with the EU is finalised
  • An FTA with the US should be a top priority given the size of the US economy and shared approaches to economic regulation.

Professor Collins explains:

  • A UK-EU FTA would bring near-friction free and tariff-free trade between this country and the bloc. It would also restore the constitutional sovereignty for which people voted in the referendum.
  • WTO trade would give the UK freedom to implement its own regulatory standards on goods and services and with other countries. New customs procedures at borders can be mitigated with the right infrastructure and technology.

The essential first step, as the series editor, Sheila Lawlor, explains in her foreword, is to draw a line under the Withdrawal Agreement. That would have fettered the UK economy and trade to the EU’s laws and rule book and prevented the freedom to pursue free trade deals with the EU and other countries, including the US.

Commenting on his proposals, Professor Collins adds:

Provided the UK simultaneously prepares to leave the EU on 31st October and to trade under WTO rules, this should not be treated as a nightmare ‘no deal’ scenario – even if the EU delays or refuses an FTA.

While some tariffs will be slightly higher vis a vis the EU, others will be lower outside the Single Market.


The EU, The UK and Global Trade – A New Roadmap, by David Collins, is published by Politeia, 14a Eccleston Street, SW1 W9LT, priced £8-00. Hard copies are available to journalists on request from press@politeia.co.uk.

*The Author: David Collins is Professor of International Economic Law at City, University of London, specializing in World Trade Organization and international investment law.

The Author: David Collins, David.Collins.1@city.ac.uk

Series Editor: Dr. Sheila Lawlor, sheila.lawlor@politeia.co.uk
Politeia: Anton Witchell-Chibber, 0207 799 5034 / 07484252628, press@politeia.co.uk

Professor David Collins

Professor of International Economic Law at City, University of London and a WTO specialist. He previously practised commercial litigation in Toronto and was a prosecutor for the Attorney General in Ontario, Canada. His publications include The Public International Law of Trade in Legal Services (Cambridge, 2019), An Introduction to International Investment Law (Cambridge, 2016) and The World Trade Organization – A Beginner’s Guide (London, 2015). His Politeia publications include The EU, the UK and Global Trade – A New Roadmap? (with New Direction, 2019) and How to Level the EU’s Playing Field – Trade Remedies for a Trade Deal (2020).

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