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Brexit and Trade Choices in Europe and Beyond

Event date
Wednesday, 7 February, 2018
Event time
09:15 to 16:15
Event place
Event Type
Offline Event
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The Centre for Economic Policy Research and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research have the pleasure of inviting you to a conference on:

Brexit and Trade Choices in Europe and Beyond

Hosted by NIESR, 2 Dean Trech Street, London SW1P 3HE
7 February 2018, 09h00 – 16h15

It is likely, although not certain, that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. What remains highly uncertain is the direction that British economic policy will take, leading up to, during and following any Brexit process, and whether such an exit will be a single event or a series of adjustments stretched out over a number of years. There is also uncertainty about how the European Union will configure its policy towards the UK and about how the UK will, or should, react to any retaliatory action by the EU.  
A conference on this topic is being convened by David Vines of Oxford University and Paul Gretton of the Australian National University. Participants will consider alternative frameworks for managing the movement of goods, services, capital and labour in the run-up to exit, as exit happens, and afterwards, and how these might relate to the global trade architecture. It is recognised that, if the United Kingdom does not retain the preferential access to European markets that has been afforded by membership of the European Union, then its future prosperity and wellbeing will depend on its capabilities in global markets, including those of Asia, the Americas and Africa.
The meeting will consider three scenarios:

  1. seeking to remain in the EU customs union and/or single market,
  2. withdrawing into a more protectionist environment vis a vis Europe but seeking the exchange of trade preferences – i.e. preferential trade agreements – with selected non-European trading partners, and
  3. shifting to a more open trading environment in which the United Kingdom unilaterally opens its external borders in a WTO consistent manner, both towards Europe and elsewhere.

Among other issues, participants will examine the detail of how option 3 could be carried out, including giving effect to the principles laid out for the operation of the global trading system as overseen by the WTO.
The conference will bring to the UK a number of participants from outside Europe, principally from Australia and Asia, to help inform the policy choices facing Britain. The experience of Australian and Asian policymakers and advisers in carrying out unilateral liberalisation will be brought to bear on Britain’s choices, and the current negotiation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be considered.

For your information, the conference will be held entirely under the Chatham House rule, meaning that, while information discussed at the meeting can be used by participants, it cannot be attributed to a speaker or affiliated institution. A record of the meeting will be made on this basis as well.


A draft programme and further conference material will be available on the conference website: www.cepr.org/2507. You are encouraged to register your interest in participating at your earliest convenience and by 29 January at the latest, as spaces will be limited. Confirmation of successful registration will be sent to you as soon as possible. 

shewett [at] cepr.org (subject: Register%20for%20M2507) (REGISTER)

Please note: Due to the nature of NIESR’s Grade II listed building, we are unable to provide step-free access to our facilities and the Library is not currently accessible to wheelchair users, or those with limited mobility. We apologise for the inconvenience. Please do let us know in advance how we can assist your visit to the Institute – we are happy to discuss alternative arrangement in order to access our events.