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UK membership of World Trade Organization to be extended to Bailiwick

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Friday 18 October 2019

The UK's membership of the World Trade Organization will be extended to the Bailiwick of Guernsey once the UK becomes an independently represented WTO member in its own right, following its departure from the EU, the President of the Policy & Resources Committee has confirmed.

For the last 40-plus years, Guernsey has enjoyed a free and frictionless flow of goods between the UK and the EU as a result of Protocol 3, which places the Bailiwick in the EU Customs Union.

As the UK withdraws from the EU, the current customs arrangements will cease. Guernsey has considered its own future customs arrangements post-Brexit in relation to both goods and services, and the States of Deliberation decided in February 2019 to formally request that the UK extend the territorial scope of its World Trade Organization (WTO) membership to include the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

Following months of work with colleagues from the UK's Department for International Trade, Deputy Gavin St. Pier has received formal confirmation that the territorial scope of the UK's membership will be extended to the Bailiwick on exit day, when the UK becomes an independently represented member of the WTO.

Deputy St. Pier said:

'I am delighted to have today received confirmation from the Department for International Trade that an Instrument has been deposited at the WTO, advising members that the UK is extending the territorial scope of its WTO membership to the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

'It has been a long journey. It's not been easy but it has been diligently progressed by working closely with colleagues from the Department for International Trade since the States of Guernsey directed the Policy & Resources Committee to seek an extension of the UK's WTO membership. The Instrument confirms that the extension takes effect once the UK becomes an independently represented WTO member in its own right, following its departure from the EU.

'Extending the UK's WTO membership will play an important role in the future of the Bailiwick's trading relationships with other jurisdictions. This has been a strategic issue for us as part of our Brexit planning and risk mitigation. Securing the extension will provide Bailiwick companies with access to global rules on the trade in goods, services and IP with other WTO members, including EU Member States and the majority of countries worldwide. This is particularly important to provide certainty for business should the UK leave the EU in a disorderly manner, which we must continue to plan for despite recent positive developments in UK/EU negotiations.'

Deputy Charles Parkinson, President of the Committee for Economic Development, said:

'Securing an extension of the UK's membership of the WTO is excellent news. Bailiwick companies that trade in countries throughout the globe now know that they can do so without any concern of being subject to any discriminatory practices in the event of a no deal Brexit. Our traders will have access to global rules and most-favoured nation tariffs, and that will give them much-needed and welcome certainty in these uncertain times.'

The Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, Secretary of State for International Trade, said:

'Britain is on the verge of taking back control of our trade policy for the first time in 46 years. That means our own independent seat at the World Trade Organization and I am delighted we will soon extend our membership to include the Channel Islands. 

'This is an important step that provides continuity for the businesses and consumers of the Channel Islands and reaffirms the UK's commitment to preserving and advancing the global trading system in the face of rising protectionism.'

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