bY CRIMSON TAZVINZWA//The head of the World Trade Organization has told the BBC that it is ‘very unlikely’ that the government will have agreed tariffs and quotas with all other member countries by next March 2019.
Roberto Azevêdo told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The moment that other countries begin to sense an opportunity to increase the market share or increase the quota here or there, they’re going to go for that. There will be a lot of uncertainty here, there will be a lot of unpredictability.
“It is very unlikely that you’re going to have 100 per cent agreed outcome for all WTO members between now and March.”
It is also misleading to claim that the rest of the world trades with the EU on WTO terms. The Institute for Government, a think-tank in London, notes that all big countries have bilateral agreements on such trade-facilitating measures as customs co-operation, data exchange and standards. Hosuk Lee-Makiyama of ECIPE, a Brussels-based think-tank, says that only seven countries trade with the EU on WTO terms alone—and they are small fry like Cuba and Venezuela.
"Britain, founder of WTO, belongs as an EU member. To resume WTO membership independently requires a division of EU import quotas, notably for beef, lamb and butter. The WTO operates by consensus among its 164 members. Were Britain to leave the EU on acrimonious terms, negotiating its resumption of full WTO membership could be difficult. Brexiteers say trade with third countries would be easier. Perhaps, but the EU has free-trade deals with some 60 countries, including South Korea and Mexico, and is negotiating one with Japan. It will not be easy for Britain to “grandfather” these deals, because doing so would need EU agreement too;" - The Economist
He further warned that if Britain does shift to WTO rules, some sectors will face significantly higher tariffs: “It’s not going to be the end of the world, in the sense that trade is going to stop and that everything is going to fall down, no. But it’s not going to be a walk in the park either”.