McFadden – Brexit could see UK lose trade agreements with the US

British businesses could face new barriers to trade with the United States after Brexit through the loss of existing EU-US trade agreements, new research by the Open Britain campaign reveals today.

There are currently dozens of bilateral and multilateral agreements between the European Union and the United States, at least 19 of which cover economic issues. A study of them reveals that UK businesses would face new barriers to trade with the US – such as customs checks, loss of mutual recognition agreements, and regulatory divergence – if they are not maintained after Brexit.

These agreements will be lost once Britain leaves the European Union, unless the UK can negotiate new deals with the US, or negotiate to remain within the EU-US arrangements, in the time left before Britain leaves the EU. These economic agreements between the EU and the US include:

  • Open Skies, which creates a single market in aviation across Europe and the United States.
  • Mutual recognition agreements on regulation covering sectors including telecommunications; pharmaceuticals; medical devices and marine equipment.
  • Cooperation between European and US customs authorities. 
  • The elimination of duty on European whiskies, gins, liquors and cordials.
  • Food safety and animal welfare standards covering beef, pork, and the trade in live animals.
  • Geographical protection indication for British wine-makers. 
  • Restrictions on anti-competitive practices, for example in the aerospace industry.

Open Britain believes the Government has three key questions to answer. First, what is their plan to retain these agreements post-Brexit? Second, can the Government guarantee that any new trade deal with the United States will not result in worse terms in these areas? And third, if the UK does fall out of these agreements, what would be the economic cost and what, if any, contingency planning has been done?

Commenting, Pat McFadden MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:

“Before the Government cosies up any closer to President Trump in its desperation to get a trade deal with the United States, we should secure the agreements we already have with them through our membership of the European Union. 

“If we do not retain these agreements after Brexit, the consequences for the British economy will be dire in sectors from aviation to agriculture.

“We all want Britain to have the freest trade possible with the United States, so long as doing so does not compromise our workers’ rights, consumer protection and environmental standards.

“If things are going as well with the United States as Ministers claim, then they should be able to get an immediate agreement from their American counterparts that all of these arrangements will be retained until a new trade deal is agreed and not watered down if one ever materialises.”

/ends

Notes to editors: 

Through its membership of the European Union, the United Kingdom is already party to dozens of bilateral or multilateral treaties with the United States. Of these agreements, 19 could be said to be trade-related or have trade-aspects to them. Details on all the agreements can be found here:

http://ec.europa.eu/world/agreements/default.home.do

Below are 19 which have trade aspects to them.        

Fisheries/Marine:

1. Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (NAFO) (which established the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation).

Scope: To contribute through consultation and cooperation to the management and conservation of the fishery resources of the Northwest Atlantic Area.

Entered into force: 1 January 1979

2. Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Conformity for Marine Equipment.

Scope: To facilitate EU-US trade in marine equipment by giving EU manufacturers the possibility of approving their products for the US market with a Conformity Assessment Body located in the EU.

Entered into force: 26 April 2004

Air Transport

3. Air Transport Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, on the one hand, and the United States of America, on the other hand (more commonly known as the EU-US “Open skies agreement”).

Scope: To establish an open aviation area between the EU and the US as a single market for air transport in which investments flow freely and in which European and American airlines provide air services without any restriction, including in the domestic markets of each party.

Entered into force: Has been applied provisionally since 30 March 2008 and further updated by two amendments (also applied provisionally) allow for further market liberalisation.

4.Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Government of the United States of America concerning the application of the GATT Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft on trade in large civil aircraft.

Scope: To regulate and limit the level of Government support to aircraft industries in the US and the EU.

Entered into force: 17 July 1992

Customs:

5. Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America on customs cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters.

Scope: To develop customs cooperation of the widest possible scope in areas such as the exchange of information and requests for assistance, in order to help customs authorities in the control of the trade flows and the fight against fraud and illegal activities.

Entered into force: 1 August 1987

Agriculture:

6. Agreement In the form of a Memorandum of Understanding between the European Community and the United States of America on spirituous beverages.

Scope: to eliminate duties on spirits, including whiskies, gin, liquors and cordials through reductions which took place over four years between 1997 and 2000.

Entered into force: 3 October 1997  

7. Agreement in the form of exchange of letters between the European Community and the United States of America concerning the application of the Community directive third countries (Council Directive 72/462/EEC) and of the corresponding regulatory requirements of the United States of America with regard to the bovine and porcine fresh meat trade.

Scope: To provide the same public health guarantees for beef and veal and pork. The agreement establishes very detailed rules on slaughter, sterilisation, inspection, etc.

Entered into force: 1 July 1994

8. Agreement on trade in bananas between the European Union and the United States of America.

Scope: The objective of the agreement was to settle a WTO dispute on trade in bananas between the EU and the US, which had arisen following an internal EU decision on trade in bananas in 1993. The outcome of the agreement was to gradually remove tariffs on banana imports.

Entered into force: 24 January 2013

9. Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America on trade in wine. 

Scope: to facilitate trade in wine between the EU & the US including the mutual recognition by the EU and the US of each other’s wine-making practices and limits the use of certain semi-generic terms to wines originating from the EU (i.e. geographic indicators).  

Entered into force: 10 March 2006

10. Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Community and the United States of America relating to the method of calculation of applied duties for husked rice.

Scope: To lay down the method for calculating the duty on husked rice imports.

Entered into force: 30 June 2005

11. Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Community and the United States of America relating to the modification of concessions with respect to cereals provided for in EC Schedule CXL to the GATT 1994.

Scope: To set concessions with respect to cereals in respect to the then EC schedule to the GATT (now WTO).

Entered into force: 27 December 2002

12. Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America on sanitary measures to protect public and animal health in trade in live animals and animal products. 

Scope: To facilitate trade in live animals and livestock products between the European Union and the United States by establishing a mechanism for the mutual recognition of equivalence of sanitary measures.

Entered into force: 1 August 1999 

13. Agreement for the conclusion of negotiations between the European Community and the United States of America under Article XXIV:6.

Scope: Agreement resulting from discussions between the United States, Canada and the European Community relating to agricultural matters and market access concessions. (This replaced a similar agreement in place from 1967).

Entered into force: 22 December 1995 

14. Memorandum of Understanding between the European Economic Community and the United States of America on oil seeds under GATT.

Scope: Commitment to adjust the European Community support for European producers in respect of oil seeds.

Entered into force: 3 December 1992

Competition:

15. Agreement between the European Communities and the Government of the United States of America on the application of positive comity principles in the enforcement of their competition laws.

Scope: To help ensure that trade and investment flows between the EU and the US and competition parties are not impeded by anti-competitive activities

Entered into force: 4 June 1998 

16. Agreement on mutual recognition between the European Community and the United States of America - Joint Declaration.

Scope: An agreement to facilitate trade by promoting reciprocal acceptance of conformity assessment procedures, reducing the time and costs it takes a product to be placed on the market in the areas of Telecommunications; Electromagnetic Compatibility; Electrical Safety; Recreational Craft; Medical Devices, and Pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practices.

Entered into force: 1 December 1998

17. Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America on customs cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters.

Scope: to develop customs cooperation of the widest possible scope in areas such as the exchange of information and requests for assistance for providing a balance between the necessary trade liberalisation and the increasing international trade with the world's large trading partners. 

Entered into force: 1 August 1997

18. Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters recording the common understanding renewing and modifying the agreement on international cooperation on research and development activities in the domain of intelligent manufacturing systems (IMS) between the European Community and Australia, Canada, the EFTA countries of Norway and Switzerland, Korea, Japan and the United States of America.

Scope: The IMS is an international and multilateral cooperation scheme in which Participants work cooperatively to boost industrial competitiveness, solve problems facing manufacturing worldwide, and develop advanced manufacturing technologies and systems. (This updated a similar agreement from 1997).

Entered into force: 4 January 2008

19. Agreement in the form of an exchange of letters between the European Community and the United States of America on government procurement.

Scope: with an aim of liberalising the government procurement market.

Entered into force: 30 May 1995