Following the decision to leave the EU, the UK will have to reconfigure its trade policy, successfully navigating a path through a new international trade landscape. The UK Trade Policy Observatory aims to ensure that new trade policies are constructed in a manner that benefits all.

For over four decades, the European Union has managed a great deal of international trade policy on behalf of the UK. Brexit changes all of this. The UK now needs to debate, define and negotiate its position in the world trading system, requiring expert analysis to navigate successfully through this new landscape.

The UK Trade Policy Observatory, a partnership between Chatham House and the University of Sussex, works to support the development of new trade policies in the post-Brexit era. The UK Trade Policy Observatory is uniquely positioned to comment on and provide analysis of trade policy proposals in the wake of Brexit.

The Observatory will engage in seven priority areas:

  • Overall trade strategy, including the internal effects of trade agreements and trade instruments, such as the selection of standards, preferences and services regulation.
  • Monitoring the treatment of UK exports by others and UK de facto import policy.
  • Devising policies for UK trade with developing and least developed countries.
  • Negotiation support.
  • Institutional design.
  • Enforcement (including trade defence instruments, WTO rights).
  • Training for negotiating teams, government and other interested parties.  

Created in June 2016, the Observatory is committed to engaging a wide variety of stakeholders to help strategise and develop the UK’s post-Brexit international trading environment. It will endeavour to do so in a manner that benefits all in the UK, and is fair to the UK, the EU and the world.

UK Trade Policy Observatory, Briefing Paper 1: The World Trade Organisation: A Safety Net for a Post-Brexit UK Trade Policy?

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