News Summary 20 February 17

A summary of the most important trade news stories from the past week. This summary is emailed to our subscribers every Monday morning, along with the latest comment and analysis from The Channel Group. If you would like to receive this direct to your inbox, you can sign up at the bottom of this article or click here.

Good morning,

This week the EU and other trade partners warned against the latest US trade policies, warning that they will take a case to the WTO if necessary. In other news, events in Turkey sent a waning to the UK regarding border controls post Brexit, and Theresa May will seek reassurances about the future of the UK automobile industry.

Make sure to watch the first in our History of Trade series, this week coming to you from Venice. Next up will be Brussels.

Thomas Dempster

The Channel Group

May to discuss future of Vauxhall with Peugeot CEO

The UK Prime Minster, Theresa May will discuss the future of Vauxhall with Chief Executive of PSA, as the French firm prepares to buy GM’s European operation.

Vauxhall is included in the portion of GM being sold off, and May is to seek assurances that the UK operations will not be closed as a cost-cutting measure. Politician and unions in the UK and Germany have been pressing PSA not to cut jobs in their countries.

EU to challenge US border tax

The EU and other countries are preparing to challenge President trump’s proposed border tax. The legal challenge will be heard at the WTO and would be the largest in the organisations history.

A new “border adjustment” system is being proposed by Republicans in the US – it would be a tax on import revenues, but export revenues would be exempt. Tax experts have said that the move would constitute the largest change to corporate taxation in a century.

European Commission Vice President, Jyrki Katainen, said that the EU wanted to avoid a trade war with the US and would act against any protectionist measures imposed by the US. “If somebody is behaving against our interests or against international rules in trade then we have our own mechanisms to react,” Mr Katainen said. “We have all the legal arrangements within EU, but we are also part of global arrangements like the WTO and we want to respect the global rule base when it comes to trade.”

Turkey border troubles a warning for UK

Long delays and burdensome bureaucracy characterise border crossings in Turkey, a sign of what could be in store for the UK after Brexit. Queues of lorries have stretched for 17km and it can take 30 hours to cross the border with Bulgaria.

Despite being a member of the customs union, drivers must complete dozens of customs forms and random inspections. In addition, they require a transport permit ofr every EU nation through which they will drive.

Despite the goods in each lorry entering the EU duty-free, the estimated cost of the border delays in €3bn per annum.

As Theresa May announced that the UK will seek special customs union access, these problems could arise between the UK and the continent. With May’s reluctance to become a full customs union member, preferring to seek a bespoke arrangement, the problems could be far worse than in Turkey.

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Thomas Dempster

Thomas has a background in politics, having worked in Parliament for a number of years. He worked alongside a wide range of stakeholders from business, local and supra-national government, and charities on various projects.

Before this, he worked for GlaxoSmithKline and as a theatre producer. Thomas enjoys playing cricket, cycling, and reading.

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