Geoffrey Clifton-Brown questions the Government on the situation after we leave the customs union and the consequent automatic application of external tariffs applied under WTO rules.
Paragraph 8.43 of the White Paper makes it clear that we want to leave the customs union so that we can negotiate free trade agreements “around the world.” If we leave the customs union, we will be bound by an external tariff unless we negotiate otherwise. Is that the correct position?
Generally speaking, a most favoured nation arrangement applies under WTO rules, but countries are generally allowed to make free trade agreements at whatever level they seek. We want to ensure that as many of the existing EU free trade agreements carry straight over, which will also be lower than MFN rates.
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