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Supply chain issues crashed onto the front pages in the UK this year when petrol stations started running out of fuel. But that was just one aspect of a wider problem. A surge in demand for consumer goods has led to soaring shipping costs, with ships queueing up to get into container ports, and mounting concerns as to whether even Santa will be abl…
 
In this episode, we’re heading stateside as we take a closer look at the trade relationship between the UK and the United States. In one sense, it’s a relationship that only came into existence when Britain finally left the EU customs union at the end of last year. But that belies the fact that the United States is the UK’s biggest single trading p…
 
As the world’s second most populous country, India is an emerging player in global trade, and of course it has deep historical and cultural ties with Britain. In recent times, India has acquired a bit of a reputation as being part of the awkward squad within the international trade community. The received wisdom was that New Delhi wasn’t interested…
 
Part of the United Kingdom, but effectively within the EU single market, but still part of the UK’s customs territory – you’d be forgiven for feeling a little confused about just how Northern Ireland fits into things these days.The problem is that if Northern Ireland remains part of the EU single market, then the EU wants to make sure that anything…
 
Traditional types of trade are regulated by the World Trade Organisation, under rules which mostly date from 1995 – a time when data exchanges were accompanied by the screech of a modem, and were measured in kilobytes. So it’s perhaps not surprising that there are no meaningful global rules in place at the moment to regulate digital trade. But incr…
 
Up until the end of last year, the UK was part of the EU single market, and British traders had enjoyed frictionless trade with Europe for several decades. But all of that has now changed. Customs formalities are a fact of life, with paperwork to be filled in whether you’re sending a lorry load of precision tools to a factory in Germany, or a few j…
 
Disagreements over fisheries nearly sunk last year’s trade negotiations between the UK and the EU. A deal was eventually signed, which repatriated some - but not all - of the fish resources in UK waters back to UK control. However, despite leaving the EU’s Common Fisheries policy behind, the deal left many in the fishing community somewhat underwhe…
 
In the 21st century, international trade has almost universal scope, and the UK, like other developed countries, trades with pretty much every other country on earth, including those with some pretty repressive regimes in charge. So how can we shape international trade in a way which encourages our trading partners to uphold certain basic standards…
 
The government has promised to create at least 10 freeports up and down the country, as a key strand of its new post-Brexit trade and industrial policy. There has been a bidding process for sea ports and airports to convert to freeport status, with the deadline for bids expiring on February 5th. But what actually is a freeport? What can you do in t…
 
The UK’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU came into force on New Year's Day. Since then, the focus has mainly been on the border issues, with supermarket supplies running short in a few areas, and lorry drivers’ ham sandwiches being confiscated by Dutch customs officials. But while the UK’s Michael Gove always said there would be ‘bumps …
 
This episode examines the question of food standards and how they will affect Britain’s post-Brexit international trade. As the UK leaves the EU, will we be diverging from the European food standards that have applied in Britain for the last few decades? What would be the benefit of diverging? What might be the risks of not diverging? And do the Am…
 
Since the Brexit referendum, the trade policy focus has been primarily about how UK businesses will trade with their counterparts in the EU and around the world. But what about intra-UK trade? Surely it stands to reason that there won’t be any problem for a business in England to trade with a business in Scotland? However, closer examination shows …
 
The UK imports around twenty-five billion pounds’ worth of pharmaceutical products each year from a wide range of supplier countries. Even during the worst phases of this year’s COVID-19 crisis, we have not run short of essential drugs. But how confident can we be that such a disaster would never happen? Are too many of our pharmaceutical eggs in o…
 
Britain left the EU on 31 January 2020. But for the time being, hardly anything has changed in terms of the country’s trade with Europe. We’re in a transition period which will run until the end of the year, and during that period the UK needs to negotiate a whole new trading relationship with the EU. But is that period going to be long enough to g…
 
COVID-19 has had a profound effect on trade. A global recession is always going to have an impact on trade volumes, but this pandemic has had the effect of completely choking off demand for some goods and services, while pushing demand for others through the roof. And that has posed acute trade policy challenges. Is it ever right to impose controls…
 
Trade in services is generally reckoned to account for about 80% of the UK economy. The UK financial services sector alone makes a contribution to the economy that is worth the equivalent of the entire GDP or Bulgaria and Croatia combined. So why do we hear so little about services in the context of the trade negotiations that are just getting unde…
 
For many people, the idea that the National Health Service may be ‘up for sale’ in the UK’s upcoming international trade negotiations is a cause of great anxiety. But what does that phrase even mean? The NHS offers a massive range of services, from brain surgery to cleaning the hospital windows. So if any of these services are subcontracted, who is…
 
For the past few years, the United States and China have been at each other’s throats, with the Trump administration slapping a series of punitive tariffs on Chinese imports and Beijing responding with its own retaliatory measures. The US accuses China of not playing fair when it comes to global trade. So what is it that China has done to incur the…
 
Back in early February, the Department for International Trade announced that it was seeking the views of stakeholders on what sort of tariffs the UK should apply on its imports of goods. As an EU member, the UK applied the same tariffs as the rest of the EU, but as from next year it can do what it likes tariff-wise. So is this a chance for ‘Global…
 
After almost half a century as an EU member state, the UK is about to become an autonomous member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). For some, this represents an exciting opportunity. But what is the value of WTO membership? And given the multiple challenges that the rules-based trading system is facing at present, can Britain be a force for go…
 
The question of the Irish border has been one of the most contentious issues in the Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU. Boris Johnson has claimed that his Brexit deal is the best of all worlds, maintaining frictionless trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. But is this case? What doe…
 
Now that the UK has left the European Union, the Government has promised to complete a whole string of Free Trade Agreements with the EU, the United States, and various other trading partners around the world. But is there a catch to doing these negotiations? Are there trade-offs involved - and what are they likely to be? And how easy will it be to…
 
Boris Johnson promised to ‘get Brexit done’ when he won the UK General Election in December 2019 - and on one level he achieved that aim on 31 January. However, there is still much to be decided as the UK begins the process of disengaging from the EU. Can a Free Trade Agreement between the two sides be achieved by the transition deadline of 31 Dece…
 
As the UK enters the post-Brexit transition period, Boris Johnson has made clear that a trade deal with the US is as big a priority, if not more so, than a deal with the EU. But are Britain and America natural trade partners? What benefits could a transatlantic trade deal deliver? And what about chlorinated chicken? To discuss all this and more, Ch…
 
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