Conformity assessment and the WTO option (part 3): testing in third countries

In my previous two posts (here and here), I have been examining the concern that has been expressed, notably by Andrew Tyrie MP, about the obstacles UK manufacturers might face in exporting to the EU under the WTO option, because of the need to ensure that their products continue to conform to EU product legislation, and because of a need moreover to be able to prove that conformity. I have been confining myself to products covered by the New Approach legislation, and have focussed on the form which that legislation has taken since the introduction of the New Legislative Framework in 2008. My main conclusions so far have been that:

  1. The responsibility for undertaking conformity assessment procedures lies with the manufacturer alone.
  2. These procedures are the same, whether the manufacturer is inside the EU or outside.
  3. For the majority of products, the manufacturer draws up a Declaration of Conformity and attaches the CE mark, without any involvement from a third party.
  4. For these products, therefore, for a UK manufacturer exporting to r-EU after Brexit, no change will be necessary, either in the product itself or in the conformity assessment procedures to be carried out.
  5. One difference will be that an ‘importer’ will required to release the product onto the Community market. But the responsibilities of the importer with regard to conformity assessment are modest.
  6. Another difference is that the goods will be subject to the provisions of Section 3 of Regulation 765/2008 on ‘Controls of products entering the Community market’, for surveillance by means of sampling checks based on risk assessment. But there is some reason to doubt that UK exports will feature highly among the products targeted for checking (see Part 1, section entitled ‘Checks on goods at the border’ for initial thoughts on this).
  7. For a minority of products, generally those of higher risk and hazard, the conformity assessment procedure specified in the legislation requires that a third party, known as a Notified Body, issues an EC Type-Examination Certificate confirming conformity to the product safety requirements.
  8. Such Notified Bodies must be established in a Member State, and designated by the appropriate authority of that state.
  9. It follows that after Brexit, under the WTO option, the UK Notified Bodies would lose their notified status.
  10. As a result, they would no longer be able to issue new EC Certificates.
  11. EC Certification involves an ongoing involvement by the Notified Body.
  12. It follows that the status of the Certificates becomes uncertain once the body loses its notified status.
  13. UK Notified Bodies have issued EC Certificates worldwide in great numbers.
  14. It follows that a sudden termination of the validity of these certificates after Brexit would be impracticable.
  15. Therefore some transitional arrangements would have to be made for existing certificates.

Must products be sent to the EU for testing?

In part 1 I quoted Andrew Tyrie MP as suggesting (p. 3) that after Brexit under the WTO option:

many UK exporters would face the requirement not only to conform to EU standards, as they do currently, but to prove that conformity, in some cases by sending samples to the EU for independent testing.

I endeavoured to show that under the WTO option there is no extra obligation upon UK exporters to ‘prove’ conformity to EU product legislation that is not already incumbent upon them. It remains to examine whether, in carrying out those obligations after Brexit under the WTO option, it would become necessary in some cases to send product specimens to r-EU for testing.

Certainly, it would appear that for those products which require third party testing and certification by a Notified Body, UK manufacturers would have to employ r-EU bodies for this purpose. But does it follow that product specimens would have to be sent to the r-EU for testing?

As a way of proceeding to an answer, it may be worth drawing attention to Richard North’s views on the subject. North gave evidence to the Treasury Select Committee on 13th July, with Tyrie in the chair, and Tyrie makes reference to the evidence given on that day as being influential in his conclusion that the WTO option would be a less than desirable outcome for the UK. It seems possible therefore that Tyrie may have been influenced also by the following passage in North’s paper on the WTO option published, a month before Tyrie’s paper, on the 29th July:

testing-2

footnotes-2

By saying that samples must be submitted to ‘testing houses’, which are ‘located’ in Member State territory, North seems to invite the deduction that the samples must be sent to Member State territory. Moreover, by saying that tests may be carried out in third countries where (what North calls) their testing regimes are recognised by the EU, he implies strongly that this is a necessary condition, so that without such recognition the tests would have to be carried out in the EU.

No territorial restrictions

Remarkably, North’s own reference (n. 22), which is to the Commission’s web-page on Notified Bodies, indicates that in fact they may carry out their conformity assessment activities anywhere:

not-bod

‘Conformity assessment services’ (first bullet point) certainly include the testing of products, and this activity may be carried out on the territory of non-EU countries. There is no indication here of any need for recognition of the ‘testing regime’ of the non-EU country, nor would one expect such recognition to be necessary, since the Notified Body conducting the work has been found competent by the EU.

The legislation itself makes no reference to the territory in which procedures should be undertaken. With regard to product specimens for Module B EC Type-Examination, framework Decision 768/2008 states only that the manufacturer should include the specimens in the application it lodges with the Notified Body (Annex II, Module B, 3.):

shall-include

specimens

If the notified bodies are free to operate anywhere, it stands to reason that they will in fact do so, given that most of them are commercial undertakings, and that there will be a demand for their services from non-EU exporters to the EU.

Visits and inspections

Conformity assessment Modules D, E and H all involve on-site Notified Body activities including quality system audits, and unexpected visits with product tests carried out during the visit. Clearly, for products which require these procedures, non-EU manufacturers would be unable to export to the EU unless Notified Bodies were operating in their country.

Subsidiaries and subcontracting

Whatever trade obstacles there might otherwise be to EU-established Notified Bodies offering their services in third countries are effectively removed by the provision made in the legislation for the use of subcontractors and subsidiaries (Decision 768/2008, Annex I, Article R20). The requirements set out in Article R17, that are referred to in 20(1), are those for Notified Bodies:

subsids

I start to give evidence below of the widespread use by Notified Bodies of subsidiaries and subcontractors to allow them to test products throughout the world. The possibility arises therefore that after Brexit under the WTO option, where UK exporters to the r-EU/EEA had to change their custom to r-EU/EEA Notified Bodies, they would not have to send their product specimens to the r-EU/EEA, but could continue to test them in the UK, through the use of subsidiaries of, and subcontractors to, these bodies. Indeed, in some cases, it could be possible for them to keep their custom with the same company, by employing the services of a different part of it, which was established and notified in r-EU/EEA. Or in other cases, they could continue with the same testing laboratory, if it entered into a subcontracting relationship with a Notified Body.

Nick Clegg’s apparent misapprehension

Of the above, more in another post. Here, I would like to examine another concern that has been raised, this time by Nick Clegg, in his ‘Brexit Challenge #2: What does Brexit mean for the UK’s trading relationships’? Clegg writes:

clegg

By writing that it is Mutual Recognition Agreements that ‘allow’ exporters from third countries to employ the services of ‘approved bodies’, presumably meaning Notifed Bodies, he implies that without such agreements, their goods would not be certified at all. This would explain why he apparently believes that the goods would be ‘impounded and checked’ at the EU border. He says that MRAs are in place with ‘many countries’, including China, the US and Australia. He does not explain how countries that have neither an MRA nor a ‘full FTA’ succeed in exporting to the EU.

This is thus a different concern from that of Tyrie, who realises that non-EU manufacturers are free to employ Notified Bodies, but thinks that their products might have to be sent to the EU for testing, in order to be certified. It is virtually certain that Clegg derives his ideas from Richard North, from the same paper on the WTO option that seems probably to have influenced Tyrie, and indeed from the same passage, but further along in it. The near certainty comes from Clegg ascribing an MRA with the EU to China. He has just defined MRAs in connection with approved bodies and conformity, and so must mean an MRA on conformity assessment. But such an MRA does not exist, as can be seen from the Commission’s web-page:

list

Contrary to Clegg, the Commission does not suggest that MRAs ‘allow’ access to the conformity assessment requisite for trade between the EU and third countries, but rather that they make such access easier:

mutual-rec

It is hard to find any explanation for Cleggs’s mistaken belief in the existence of an EU-China MRA on conformity assessment, other than it comes from the following two paragraphs by North, which overlap with the section quoted earlier:

iso

mra-notes

In context, when North writes that China ‘also formalised an MRA’ with the EU, he can only be read as meaning an MRA on conformity assessment. In fact however, the press release cited by North in support of his statement, concerns a ‘mutual recognition agreement’ (in lower case) not on conformity assessment but on the mutual recognition of trusted traders. The acronym MRA is not used and formally this was not an international Mutual Recognition Agreement at all, but a Decision of the EU-China Joint Customs Cooperation Committee ‘Regarding Mutual Recognition of the Authorised Operator Programme in [the EU] and the Measures on Classified Management of Enterprises Program [in China]’. There had been an international Agreement which had brought the Joint Committee into being, but it was on ‘Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters’, and had been signed nearly ten years earlier in 2004.

I can see no way in which this agreement on safe traders helps Chinese exporters to fulfil the requirements of the EU’s product legislation, in the way that an MRA on conformity assessment could. It is such a surprising thing that Clegg should claim that the EU has an MRA on conformity assessment with China, when the relevant Commission web-site makes it clear that it does not, that I conclude that he must almost certainly have been using North as his source, without checking North’s reference.

North goes on to write:

clearance

container

North envisages goods being held at the border and then sent to Notified Bodies for testing. He must therefore be supposing that UK exporters would despatch consignments without having first having the product certified by a Notified Body, for product types where this is required. This is such a surprising thought, that I think it must almost certainly be the source for Clegg’s notion that shipments will be ‘impounded and checked at the EU border’, given that North seems to be the likely source also for Clegg’s mistaken belief in the existence of a China-EU MRA on conformity assessment.

Why would a UK manufacturer despatch their goods uncertified, if they knew that they would be impounded at the border and sent to be tested? I can only suppose that North and Clegg think that it is impossible for non-EU manufacturers to employ the services of EU Notified Bodies.

North seems to be mistaken also in supposing that goods impounded at a border for lack of certification would be sent for testing to a Notified Body. Provision is indeed made for product checking at the Community borders, but as part of the market surveillance legislation (Regulation 765/2008 ‘setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products…’), not as part of the conformity assessment procedures which are laid out in Decision 768/2008, and in the individual product safety Directives and Regulations.

Under Regulation 765/2008, Article 27 (‘Controls of products entering the Community market’), border authorities may suspend the release of a product if they have concerns about its safety, and must then inform the market surveillance authorities (if these are separate from the border authorities in the Member State concerned). The market surveillance authorities may then carry out physical testing in their own laboratories, or at other laboratories of their choosing, with no requirement for them to belong to a Notified Body. In some EU countries, including notably (p. 10) France, customs laboratories play a major role in product safety testing. But they are not serving the role of Notified Bodies.

How China carries out EU conformity assessment procedures for toys

It remains to demonstrate how, in practice, manufacturers in third countries fulfil the EU’s product safety requirements and export successfully to the Community, even in the absence of mutual recognition of conformity assessment. I start by taking China’s exports of children’s toys as an example, it being a sector in which safety requirements might be expected to be paramount. Three questions may be asked:

  • to what extent is third party certification necessary?
  • can the manufacturers obtain such certification?
  • do they have to send product samples to the EU for testing?

With regard to the first question, it may be noted here that Nick Clegg appears to believe that for manufacturers based outside the Single Market and exporting to the EU, all products would have to be certified:

clegg-1

In part 1 (Section entitled ‘Preponderance of the Module A procedure’), I cited an EFTA study which included an estimate by ‘industry experts’ of 95% for the proportion of products for which there is no need of third party certification, under New Approach legislation and with the construction product sector being excluded. Remarkably, this is true of children’s toys, so long as European harmonised standards are used throughout (Article 19(2) of the Toy Safety Directive (TSD) 2009/48/EC):

19-2

CEN’s Technical Committee 52 has been developing toy safety standards since 1969, according to Wikipedia, with standards in the EN 71 series being adopted from 1978, if not before. So it is not surprising that there now exists, available for use by toy manufacturers, a very comprehensive set of standards. I performed a Google search with terms {china 2009/48/ec declaration of conformity}, so as to pick up both products where the standards were applied throughout, and products where a Notified Body was employed. Of the seven cases that were yielded none showed the involvement of a Notified Body. This DoC (shown in part) for a radio-controlled toy truck, for example, states clearly (bottom left) that no EC type-examination was carried out:

radio-truck

Five of the harmonised standards are referred to:

tsd-standards

Having failed to find any Declarations of Conformity which indicated the involvement of a Notified Body, I then searched directly for EC Type-Examination Certificates issued to Chinese manufacturers under the TSD, and found one for a remote control helicopter issued in 2012 by the Czech Institute for Testing and Certification (NB no. 1023); and one for a trampoline issued in 2014 by TÜV Nord (NB no. 0044). The first European harmonised standard for Trampolines for Domestic Use (EN71-14:2014) was published that same year 2014, and perhaps not in time for the assessment, so possibly explaining the need for the Notified Body, who used draft German standard prEN71-14:2012 instead:

tramp

The Certificate makes reference to a Test Report, but does not state where testing took place.

A toy helicopter

The EC Certificate for the toy helicopter, with intended child age range stated as 8+, makes no reference to the harmonised standards, but rather certifies that the toy complies with the essential safety requirements of the Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC:

essential

The certificate refers to a test report from Accredited lab AZL 1004:

itc-ref

This laboratory has been accredited by the Czech Accreditation Institute, and is itself located in the Czech Republic, in Zlín:

lab-1004

Annex 2, 107 pages long, of this accreditation certificate, lists tests which the  laboratory has been accredited to perform. Toy tests are listed, under both European and American standards, including for example the simple drop test under EN 71-1:

toys-en-71

drop

In passing, here is the drop test as specified in EN 71-1, Clause 8.5:

drop-test

Clearly, a toy helicopter that actually flies, presents a number of specific hazards associated with the spinning rotor. Accordingly, this type of toy is one of six included by NB-Toys (Co-ordination of the Notified Bodies under the Safety of Toys Directive) in a list of six categories of toy for which it may be appropriate to involve a Notified Body and carry out an EC Type-Examination:

types-of-toys

specific-risks

It seems extraordinary that even in this case, where it is confirmed that ‘EN 71 does not cover specific risks related to’ certain types of toy helicopters, so that the involvement of a Notified Body would appear to be necessary according to Article 19(3) of the Toy Safety Directive, and where it is obvious that there is potential for serious injury if the toy is poorly designed or manufactured, there is still no clear statement that a Notified Body should be employed.

A protocol on ‘Physical and mechanical properties for rotor blades used in remote controlled flying toys intended for children over 8 years old (e.g. helicopters)’ confirms that there may be hazards which are not covered by EN 71-1:

not-covered

Indeed, it identifies the specific risk of ‘laceration injuries by rotor blades operated by high speed’, and says that these should be ‘taken into account’, but even then refrains from giving definite guidance that a Notified Body should be employed: toy-guidance

By way of contrast, under the US Federal Toy Safety Standard ASTM F963-11, all toys intended for use by children age 12 and under must be third party certified. Under EU legislation, even chemistry sets for children can be produced by manufacturers anywhere in the world, without any requirement for third-party testing, if harmonised standards EN 71-4:2013 ‘Experimental sets for chemistry’ and EN 71-5:2015 ‘Chemical toys (sets) other than experimental sets’ are employed.

In conclusion then, for most products in the toy sector, non-EU manufacturers carry out the in-house Module A procedures, and attach the CE mark, in exactly the same way as EU manufacturers. A search yielded only two examples of products which were certified by a Notified Body. Of these, only one gave the location where testing took place, and in this case it was in the EU, in the Czech Republic.

How China carries out conformity assessment procedures for PPE

I conducted another search with terms {china 89/686/eec declaration of conformity} to find instances of Chinese manufacturers exporting Personal Protective Equipment to the EU under the PPE Directive 89/686/EEC. The first result was an EC Type-Examination Certificate issued in 2009 (and updated in 2013) by the French Notified Body CTC (No. 0075) to Shandong Xingyu Gloves in Shandong Province for 13 gauge nitrile-coated safety gloves:

ctc

PPE generally requires EC type-examination, with exceptions made for some low risk and hazard products (known as Category I) including gardening gloves and washing-up gloves (Directive 89/686/EC (consolidated), Article 8(2) and part of (3)):

gloves-type

These safety gloves were described in the EC Certificate as ‘Protective gloves against mechanical risks’, which is also the title of European harmonised standard EN 388:2003, against which the gloves were tested, and were classed as Category II:

cat-ii

The certificate goes on to indicate that the test reports were issued by CTC Asia rather than by CTC France:

ctc-test

EN 388:2003 sets out levels of resistance to abrasion, blade cut, tear and puncture:

levels

It also specifies the test methods to be used to measure each form of resistance. For puncture, for example, it provides the dimensions of the steel stylus which is to be pressed  against a piece of the glove:

stylus

SATRA Technology, founded in 1919 as  the British Boot, Shoe and Allied Trades Research Association, supplies equipment to measure against EN 388 all four forms of resistance:

protective-glove-test-machines-satra

CTC Asia is based in Hong Kong and, according to a 2006 article in Leather International, had the only laboratory in Hong Kong at that time ‘to run the whole range of tests on safety gloves’. It is accredited by the Hong Kong Accreditation Service to test protective gloves for mechanical risks against EN 388:2003:

hkas

hkas-2

I have not found the test report for this particular product, but here is another CTC Asia test report for safety gloves tested against EN 388:

test-report-ctc

test-report-ctc-2

I think this is enough to confirm that the testing for the Nitrile gloves was indeed carried out at the Hong Kong laboratory, as was indicated by the test report being ascribed to CTC Asia. That this was the way in which the company was operating is demonstrated by an announcement in its 2009 newsletter that it was about to open another laboratory in Dongguan offering physical testing and safety analyses for the glove sector among others:

dongguan

A ski helmet

Another EC Certificate was issued by the Luxembourg Notified Body (no. 0499) Société Nationale de Certification et d’Homologation in 2009 to a Shenzhen City manufacturer for a ski helmet:

snch

The European harmonised standard EN 1077:2007, against which the helmet was tested, is entitled ‘Helmets for alpine skiers and snowboarders’, and the test report 85-1077-683/09, which was issued by a Luxembourg subsidiary of TÜV Rheinland, is attached to the certificate (pp 2-10):

tuv-test

The report provides the date of the test and its location at Guangzhou Helmet Laboratory:

test-site

According to a company brochure, TÜV Rheinland had established the helmet testing laboratory three years before in 2006:

guangzhou

and, incidentally, it was used also to test motorbike helmets against UNECE Vehicle Regulation 22 on Protective Helmets and Visors. It is marked on a map along with thirteen other laboratories in a company brochure showing TÜV Rheinland’s presence in China :

tuv-china

Similarly, as of December 2015, SGS were operating 38 laboratories in China, with 3000 employees; Bureau Veritas had 30 for consumer products alone, as of January 2015, and 11 for electrical products; Intertek are shown as having six or seven; TÜV SÜD six; and Eurofins three for consumer product testing. No doubt there are many more, operated by companies, or subsidiaries of companies, that have Notified Body status.

 Conclusions

Taking children’s toys as an example I have re-emphasised, contrary to Clegg, that there are a great many products which may be exported to the EU without any need for third-party certification.

Taking personal protective equipment as an example, I have shown that where certification by a Notified Body is required:

a) non-EU manufacturers may obtain such certification, even in the absence of an MRA on conformity assessment, and

b) products may be tested in facilities anywhere in the world, operating on behalf of Notified Bodies, so that there is often no need for them to be sent to the EU for testing.

 

The photograph is of Intertek’s Footwear Lab in Shanghai.

6 thoughts on “Conformity assessment and the WTO option (part 3): testing in third countries

  1. This is a very good analysis, thank you for making the time to conduct this research and putting it in the public domain.

    1) In general, Clegg and North (and others) point to the extensive number of bilateral agreements. Between the EU and China there are 65 bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. The ‘mutual recognition agreement’ is not even listed in the Treaty database, but is an example of another type of agreement. I think the broader point remains valid: the UK is disadvantaged relative to other third countries that have (what appears at least) extensive treaty agreements.

    If you do further rebuttals, I would be interested in your views as to how important the other treaties are. Does the UK need something similar to be able to trade on equal terms as other third countries?

    2) Specifically on: “On “Nick Clegg’s apparent misapprehension”:”

    I take your point that Clegg has over-egged his pudding. However a few comments:

    You state that:
    ” .. he has just defined MRAs in connection with approved bodies and conformity, and so must mean an MRA on conformity assessment. MRAs are in place with many countries which do not have a full FTA with the EU, including China, the US and Australia.”

    What Clegg states is:
    ” In addition to FTAs, which primarily aim to reduce tariff barriers, the EU has a large number of other trade-related agreements that address specific non-tariff barriers. For example, Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) with third countries allow goods to be inspected and declared in conformity with Single Market rules by approved bodies before they are exported to the EU.This saves time and expense as shipments do not need to be impounded and checked at the EU border. MRAs are in place with many countries which do not have a full FTA with the EU, including China, the US and Australia. … ”

    What [North,ref25] points to is: “EU and China sign landmark mutual recognition agreement ” [North, ref25].

    Strictly then, Clegg is correct to state that EU and China have a mutual recognition agreement but incorrect to claim that it is an MRA. The point you are making is the assumption that he is referring to the narrower case of conformity assessment which I agree is one interpretation based on the sequencing of his sentences (and his use of capitalised MRA), but is your interpretation. An alternative interpretation is to make the association with the sentence at the opening of his paragraph, that the “EU has a large number of other trade-related agreements..” and indicates that what follows is a more general description of trade agreements (which is how I read it).

    Whilst Clegg should not have grouped the China agreement strictly as an MRA the purposes of the joint “mutual recognition agreement” appear to achieve the same thing. “goods can move faster from one destination to another ..” such that “EU customs administrations, who can concentrate their resources on checking high risk transactions”.

    Therefore whilst I do agree with your finer points, I think the general thrust of his argument is correct. That is, without formal agreements with the EU there will be obstacles to trade.

  2. Thanks, David, for your comment. Clegg refers first to ‘other trade agreements’ and then says ‘for example, Mutual Recognition Agreements…’, narrowing it down. The explanation he gives of MRAs, though imprecise (really, production facilities are ‘inspected’, products are ‘tested’ and then ‘certified’; and the manufacturers do the ‘declaring’, not the Notified Bodies) is definitely recognisable as the conformity assessment procedure. So he’s made it clear that he’s referring to an MRA on conformity assessment. Then he says that China has one.

    Customs facilitation is really a different issue, though certainly an important one. If your product were not certified, a trusted trader could hardly help you, so far as I can see. Indeed, if the trusted trader knew a product was uncertified, he would presumably refuse to handle it. And there’s nothing he could do to help get it certified. Certification is entirely between the manufacturer and the Notified Body.

    Andrew

    • Hi Andrew,

      OK, I’m not trying to defend Clegg and I do agree with your finer interpretation.

      My comment was that the bilateral letter on “mutual recognition agreement” also has the aspiration of facilitating trade enabling the customs officials to focus on high-risk items – I accept this is nothing to do with certification and is not the same as an MRA.

      Do you accept that the MRA provides benefit to those countries that have signed such agreements (Japan, US, New Zealand, Canada, …), or is the thrust of your paper that it doesn’t make a lot of difference because China manages without?

  3. Thanks, David. I am working on a post on the operation of the MRAs, but to preview, I do think they can be of benefit, but actually more to the TIC (testing, inspection, certification) companies than to the exporters – who, admittedly from a fairly small sample of US companies, tend to prefer to use EU Notified Bodies than the local ones who are notified through the MRA. Funnily enough, EU companies sometimes use US Notified Bodies for their EU certification – I suspect that what is going on is that they are all looking for one-stop certifiers, who will do US, EU, Japanese, and other certifying – and may prefer to relate to a company in the market they are trying to penetrate.

    My tentative conclusion is that it will be quite important for the UK Notified Bodies to get an MRA – some of the major ones are subsidiaries of EU (plus) – like SGS UK and TUV Sud BABT – so hopefully there may be interests in Germany, Switzerland and even the US (UL UK) batting for us, so to say – but I don’t know.

    But even if they didn’t I suspect many companies would prefer to stay with the same laboratories – who could then subcontract to an r-EU Notified Body. Or the big ones like Intertek and BSI might be able to function as Notified Bodies through their subsidiaries in r-EU – as Underwriters Laboratories do through UL UK, UL Demko etc.

    I am optimistic about getting an MRA, but the central point of the series of the posts is to analyse the WTO option to see how bad or otherwise it is. If it is catastrophic, as some suggest, then it would be hard to negotiate successfully, since we would be afraid to walk from the table.

    Andrew

  4. Your last point, regards is the WTO catastrophic?, is my interest. There has been a dearth of analysis of what it means from either side (at least publicly). We can’t enter negotiation unless we understand whether we can walk away if needed. Redwood & co. make me mad by deliberately avoiding discussion on any of the finer details that will determine if we can continue to trade legally with the EU under WTO.

    There are many other questions to address. e.g. Borders Inspection Points may restrict our trade in animal products

    North’s WTO monographs are good, but I have to admit it didn’t seem quite right and you have clarified the questions I had when I read it.

  5. Yes, I can’t yet understand Redwood’s suggestion of ‘no change to current arrangements’, once we leave the EU. A whole lot of things necessarily change, I think, from the legal point of view. It might be a good thing to propose, as a sort of general principle, but even if the EU were to accept it, there would be lots of practicalities to work out. And it seems disorderly to do it except in the context of an FTA – just to ignore the WTO rules, as Peter Lilley suggests, and keep zero tariffs with r-EU, and point out that no-one is actually harmed (Legatum Institute, ‘Road to Brexit’, p. 18) – seems dangerous to me, from the point of view of maintaining the orderliness of the WTO system. But I might be wrong, I don’t know.

    Andrew

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