Britain and the European Union to send divorce plan to WTO next week

Flags are seen at the EU Commission headquarters ahead of a first full round of talks on Brexit, Britain's divorce terms from the European Union, in Brussels, Belgium July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Vastavam web: Britain and the European Union plan to send a letter to the rest of the World Trade Organization’s 164 members next week, setting out Brexit plans that have already been rejected by seven key agricultural exporters, trade officials said on Thursday.Britain is a member of the WTO in its own right but it has to establish its own distinct membership terms as part of its withdrawal from the European Union.
“In leaving the EU, we will need to update the terms of our WTO membership where, at present, our commitments are applied through the EU as a whole,” a spokeswoman for Britain’s Trade Ministry said.There are three main issues: the division of agricultural import quotas and of farm subsidy rights and – for Britain – continued membership of the WTO’s government procurement agreement, which it is not a member of in its own right.
They want to keep the flexibility they enjoy now, suggesting Britain should duplicate the EU import quotas, doubling their potential exports into the region.A British official called their letter a negotiating tactic and an attempt to put a shot across the bows of the British-EU offer before it went to the wider WTO membership.With the Brexit clock counting down to a divorce in March 2019, British officials say they have a year to sort out the WTO negotiation before submitting Britain’s new membership terms.