EU Parliament votes in favour of EU/UK trade under WTO rules post-Brexit
The Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament has voted in favour of an agreed EU/UK approach on trade policy post-Brexit as applied via the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Mairead McGuinness MEP and First Vice-President of the European Parliament, who led on the file for the EPP Group in the Committee, has confirmed.
“The EU conducts trade policy on behalf of its Member States, allowing EU countries to take advantage of being part of a much larger bloc when negotiating globally. But after Brexit, the UK will determine its own trade policy.
"This means that the EU and the UK have to separate out the current joint commitments in place via the WTO. These so-called schedules describe measures governing how each WTO member must trade with other WTO members.
"They include Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs) which allow certain limited amounts of products - many of them agricultural - to be imported at a lower tariff level," said McGuinness, speaking from Strasbourg on Tuesday.
She said that the EU’s approach, agreed with the UK, is to split these TRQs between the EU-27 and the UK based on previous usage.
“The Agriculture Committee has endorsed the agreed EU-UK approach to the tariff-rate quotas, helping move forward preparations for Brexit. But the Committee also noted that it is important that this technical exercise does not amount to any re-opening of negotiations over market access.
"The current agricultural TRQs were negotiated at the WTO from 1986 to 1994: now is not the time for a wholesale re-negotiation. This is important in order to protect the EU market in certain sensitive agricultural products."
Countries including Argentina, Australia and New Zealand are allowed specific access for sheep and goat meat into the EU at a lower tariff rates. For example, New Zealand's sheep and goat meat quota, the EU and UK have agreed to split the quota 50:50.