WTO candidate says UK and EU can trade without a deal
TRADE between the UK and European Union would still flourish in the short term even without a Brexit deal, a candidate seeking to run the World Trade Organisation has said.
The historic alliance of Britain and the bloc and their regulatory ties should allow goods and services to continue flowing across borders, according to Hamid Mamdouh, a former WTO director of trade in services and investment who is Egypt’s candidate to run the international organisation. The commerce regulator’s 164 members have until July 8 to nominate a replacement for Roberto Azevedo, who announced his surprise resignation in May.
Speaking to broadcaster Econ Films’
programme, Mr Mamdouh
said: “The UK and the EU have been following the same regulatory framework across sectors of the economy and that provides an exceptionally strong basis for strong and close trade relations, even if they fall on WTO rules.
“There will still be the reality of business flourishing in a way that, of course, isn’t as strong as when the UK was a member state of the EU, but it’s the passage of time without a bilateral agreement that will have an effect.”
He said the strength of the UK’s service sector would soften the blow of adjusting to a new trading relationship. It accounts for 80pc of British GDP.
Mr Mamdouh said: “The UK is a huge player on the world stage of services – big sectors like financial services, telecommunications, all this sort of modern, technologically-enabled services sectors, not to mention even some of the traditional ones like tourism and others.
“I perhaps don’t see that the UK would lose as much on the services side as it would on the merchandise side if we reach the end of the year and then fall back on WTO terms.”
‘They have followed same regulatory framework, which gives a strong basis for close trade relations’