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UK WTO Membership

Volume 650: debated on Monday 3 December 2018

I have previously informed the House that in order to fulfil our obligations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as we leave the European Union we will prepare UK-specific schedules of concessions and commitments. On 19 July I informed the House of the start of the process for certification of the UK schedule for goods. I have today sent to the secretariat of the WTO the UK schedule for services and I will place a copy in the Library of the House.

This schedule replicates, as far as possible, our current obligations at the WTO. We see this as a technical exercise for which the WTO’s procedures for rectifications or improvements to schedules provide the appropriate legal mechanism. These procedures include a period for WTO members to raise objections to the proposed schedule, and it is usual for some of them to do so. If objections are raised, we will continue to work with WTO members to resolve any concerns and see the objections withdrawn. The UK can continue to trade on current terms on an uncertified schedule, with no impact on trade flows, as is the case for other countries trading on uncertified schedules.

Presenting our own UK schedules at the WTO is a necessary part of our leaving the EU. It does not in any way prejudge the outcome of the eventual UK-EU trading arrangements.