GENEVA, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Major trading partners called on
Britain and the European Union (EU) on Friday to clarify terms
for renegotiating tariff levels after Brexit and for
compensating their suppliers for any lost market access, a
Geneva trade official said.
At a closed-door meeting of the World Trade Organization,
held just 50 days before the end of the transition period, they
also sought details of how EU-UK trade will be treated in the
absence of a bilateral agreement, he said.
Australia, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, New
Zealand, Paraguay, the United States and Uruguay were among
delegations to take the floor at the talks, the official said.
“The time-clock counting down to the UK’s final departure
from the EU Customs Union has been ticking ever more loudly and
insistently – with now less than 50 days to go until the end of
the UK transition period,” New Zealand’s delegation was quoted
as saying by the official.
Yet there had been only “limited engagement” by the UK and
the EU on addressing fundamental concerns raised by a large
number of WTO members regarding their respective proposals to
cut back market access opportunities, it said.
One of the issues members complained of was a lack of
clarity on renegotiations of so-called tariff rate quotas which
fix duty levels on imported goods.
The UK, which only gained its own seat at the Geneva-based
trade body after leaving the EU in January, said it was looking
forward to building on recent negotiations. The European Union
said it hoped to move towards the finalisation of discussions
with as many WTO members as possible by the end of the year.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge; Editing by Nick
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