Future trade relations between the EU and the UK: Options after Brexit

16-03-2018

This study analyses the various options for the future trade relations between the EU and the UK, after Brexit. It examines the various models against the canvas of two distinct paradigms: market integration and trade liberalization. It finds that an intermediate model, which would allow for continued convergence and mutual recognition in some sectors/freedoms, but not others, is unavailable and cannot easily be constructed for legal, institutional, and political reasons. The stark choice is between a customs union/free trade agreement, or continued internal market membership through the EEA or an equivalent agreement. The study further analyses the effects of Brexit on the UK’s continued participation in the trade agreements concluded by the EU. Notwithstanding a range of complexities, the study finds that such continued participation is not automatic but subject to negotiation.

This study analyses the various options for the future trade relations between the EU and the UK, after Brexit. It examines the various models against the canvas of two distinct paradigms: market integration and trade liberalization. It finds that an intermediate model, which would allow for continued convergence and mutual recognition in some sectors/freedoms, but not others, is unavailable and cannot easily be constructed for legal, institutional, and political reasons. The stark choice is between a customs union/free trade agreement, or continued internal market membership through the EEA or an equivalent agreement. The study further analyses the effects of Brexit on the UK’s continued participation in the trade agreements concluded by the EU. Notwithstanding a range of complexities, the study finds that such continued participation is not automatic but subject to negotiation.