The authoritative source for independent research on UK-EU relations

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What is the World Trade Organisation (WTO)?

The WTO was set up in 1994 as the result of a major overhaul of the system of trade rules set up after the Second World War.
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What is frictionless trade?

In its purest sense, this refers to the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, resulting in the free movement of goods, services, capital and people between countries, so that it is the same as such activity within a country.
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What is GATT Article 24?

Article 24 is a provision of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and is a World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement.
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What does ‘most-favoured nation’ (MFN) mean?

It means that WTO members cannot discriminate between their trading partners and must, with a few exceptions, offer access to their market on the same terms for all WTO members.
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What is the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)?

This is part of the agreements within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) aimed at reducing barriers to the trade in services.
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What does a ‘bespoke deal’ mean?

The idea of a bespoke deal for the UK was that it would be fundamentally different to any existing agreement the EU has with a third country.
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What was ‘maximum facilitation’ (max fac)?

The maximum facilitation proposals were a suggested solution to the problem of the need to create a border on the island of Ireland.
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What was a ‘facilitated customs partnership’?

The idea of a facilitated customs partnership was first proposed by Theresa May’s government in May 2018. Read this fact to find out more.
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What are non-tariff barriers?

A non-tariff barrier is a policy implemented by a government that acts as a cost or impediment to trade. Read this fact to find out more.
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What is the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) ?

This is an agreement of World Trade Organisation (WTO) members to mutually open up their markets for selling goods and services to governments, often including regional and local governments.
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What is divergence?

Where Brexit is concerned, it refers to the UK’s ability to change the rules governing different economic sectors once outside of the EU.
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What are rules of origin?

These rules allow governments to determine where goods originate from (i.e. where they have been produced or manufactured).
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