Trade Knowledge Exchange > Podcasts > The Big To-do List for UK Trade Policy

The Big To-do List for UK Trade Policy

Episode Summary

Our second episode of Trade Knowledge Matters, Amar discusses with Prof. Alan Winters¬†about the UK’s Trade Policy from a global perspective.

 

Full Transcript

Amar (00:05.023)

Hello and welcome to this edition of the Trade Knowledge Matters podcast. I’m Amar Breckenridge and today we’re going to focus on the UK’s trade policy from a global perspective. It’s now over two years since the UK ended its membership of the European Union and nearly 18 months since it ended its membership of the EU Single Market and the Customs Union.

Amar (00:34.359)

its membership of the EU Single Market and Customs Union with the Free Trade Agreement. And it has been busy negotiating FTAs with various other trade partners. And while it’s been doing this, the UK has also been busy working away on various other aspects of trade and related policies on trade remedies, data, and it has invested a lot in developing an export promotion strategy. So now is a good time to take stock of where the UK is at in terms of its trade policy.

Amar (01:03.807)

from a domestic and from an international perspective. And in order to do this, I’m pleased to welcome Professor Alan Winters to this podcast. Alan is probably the UK’s leading expert on international trade policy. He’s a fellow and founding director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex. And he’s a leading contributor to research and debate on Brexit and the UK’s post-Brexit trade policy.

Amar (01:32.875)

From 2008 to 2011, he was Chief Economist at the British Government’s Department for International Development. And from 2004 to 2007, he was the Director of the Development Research Group at the World Bank. And for good measure, Alan has just launched a new initiative, the Center for Inclusive Trade Policy, which is the first ESRC-funded research center on trade policy.

Amar (02:02.219)

and he’s a co-director of this initiative. So, Alan, welcome to the show and thank you for taking part. And let’s begin with our first question. If we look over the last few years, really a lot of the agenda is dominated by the UK’s FTA negotiations. There’s partly a question of necessity. The UK wanted to avoid a no-deal exit.

L Alan Winters (02:10.852)

Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Amar (02:31.627)

with the countries with which it already had an FTA by virtue of its membership of the European Union, so countries like Canada, Japan, South Korea, Singapore. And I suppose there’s also a political imperative to show that the UK’s independent trade policy was paying dividends in terms of its ability to strike free trade agreements at a faster rate than it would have had it been within the European Union.

Amar (03:03.812)

So if we take stock of where we’re at and also look at negotiations that are currently underway in relation to the US and the CPTPP, what’s on the table for the UK in terms of the economic benefits from these trade agreements and the potential for further benefits from agreements that might be struck in the near future?

L Alan Winters (03:28.306)

Well, in a sense, I think to answer that you have to say, well, what’s the alternative? If you are comparing UK trade opportunities as they are now with say, three, four years ago, as when we were part of the EU’s trade policy, the truth of the matter is we are more or less just catching up and in a sense not quite doing it.

L Alan Winters (03:57.402)

If on the other hand you think the alternative is that we were going to have Brexit and that we would have fallen out of all these trade agreements with 70 other countries, then of course working hard to replicate them as well as we could made a huge amount of sense and opens up trade alternatives. But I think we can’t get away from the issue of

L Alan Winters (04:27.706)

Brexit has had the consequence of making international trade for the UK more difficult because the EU takes roughly half of our trade, and we have put quite a number of frictions, should we say, in the way. Now so far as trade with the rest of the world is concerned, the continuity trade agreements fairly much replicated what we had with the EU.

L Alan Winters (04:57.022)

There are one or two places where they were not able to, for instance, with members of the European Economic Area, they are tied into EU regulatory structures and therefore they were not able to offer certain things to the UK that we would otherwise have had through the single market. And similarly the…

L Alan Winters (05:24.854)

area which is not in the UK’s gift is about rules of origin whereby if the UK imports something from say the US or from Australia and incorporates it into something that it then seeks to send off to the EU the rules of origin in the trade and cooperation agreement potentially say

L Alan Winters (05:54.646)

zero tariff that we’ve negotiated. That’s in the gift of the EU. And so in a sense, it wasn’t up to the UK to replicate it, but it’s worth recognizing that it had some, you know, it has potentially some cost. So far as the new agreements are concerned, Australia and New Zealand are done.

L Alan Winters (06:19.742)

you have seen, I guess lots of people will have seen very small estimates of the benefits that they are going to generate even just 10 years from now, let alone immediately. And that’s because they’re a long way away and they are relatively small economies. Those benefits are worth having. And I think the British government’s view is that the Australian-New Zealand agreements

L Alan Winters (06:48.902)

were expedited as part of a broader strategy to get into the CPTPP, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. Australia and New Zealand are members of the CPTPP. The British government felt they would be the most difficult of the partners to negotiate accession with, and therefore, in a sense, you get them done separately when we are the largest.

L Alan Winters (07:17.122)

player at the table rather than one country facing 13 others. So we are in the process of trying to join CPTPP. It is a bigger group. It is quite a deep trade agreement by the standards of these things, and therefore is likely to generate some benefits. But you can’t help noticing that we’re not in the Pacific. It’s a long way away, and we know trade…

L Alan Winters (07:46.51)

drops off as distance increases. And in particular, anything that you might think would involve us exporting something to a CPTPP member, they’re incorporating it into their exports and exporting it back to us, has got a double whammy on the distance. So I think, you know, CPTPP, it’s worth doing. It’s the biggest group that’s sort of open to us. And…

L Alan Winters (08:44.19)

for regulated services and so on. And that was a gleam in the eye of the Brexiteers. It hasn’t happened. I suspect it’s not going to happen very soon. And they’ve made it clear they’re not even going to join the CPTPP, which was another hope that we had, that we get into the CPTPP and then suddenly the Americans came in. Worth a try, perhaps.

L Alan Winters (09:11.938)

but it was probably rather naive to think that it was gonna be quick and simple. The other trade need is we really do have to try and make trade with the European Union a bit easier. We have introduced all sorts of frictions and they are, I would guess, progressively affecting the volume of trade between the UK and the EU.

Amar (09:40.799)

Thanks. We’ll come back to UK-EU trade and trade relationships in a while. But just backing up a bit, there is a sense in which the UK has, partly because of the reasons we discussed, got its trade policy back to front in the sense that normally you develop a trade strategy, then you set around negotiating FTAs. At the moment, it seems that there’s been a flurry of activity on FTAs with less work done on what lies beneath in terms of a

Amar (10:11.387)

of a well articulated trade strategy. And you might say that does pose some risks, particularly when you’re negotiating accession to something like the CPTPP, which really is a lot about setting up rules and frameworks for cooperation on regulatory issues, on matters that lie behind the border. And so that really does pay to work out what your strategy is, how that aligns to the

Amar (10:42.011)

the way in which trade can increase national well-being, which after all is a fundamental aim of trade policy or of any economic policy. What are the risks that you see at the moment that the UK runs from not having a particularly well-defined trade strategy? What are the main priority things it should do to articulate such a strategy?

L Alan Winters (11:30.394)

really needs to be nice and simple. It needs ideally to be something you really just don’t have to fuss about. You just do it. You just send the stuff off and it goes and you order something and it comes in. If you’ve got different rules with dozens of different partners, you have got sort of a serious problem that oh we’re going to export this to Italy. It’s a different set up from if we’re going to export it to Canada or what have you.

L Alan Winters (12:00.154)

So I think that there’s a sort of underlying friction just from the heterogeneity of the rules that you end up with. I mean, there’s even serious work to be done to make sure they’re not all conflicting, because if you agree regulatory convergence with one partly, you’ve determined your regulatory framework in that area, and you can’t.

L Alan Winters (12:27.406)

probably go off and agree regulatory convergence with somebody else. So I think there’s a real danger of sort of tripping over not just in the private sector but actually in the public sector to have a really clear view about the water, the forces and the constraints on UK regulatory trade policies. The other problem with doing it one by one ad hoc and being very keen to sign whatever comes up.

L Alan Winters (12:55.758)

is you essentially lock in the wrong things. You lock in a series of policies that if you’d thought about them carefully and if you had accepted that by locking in with one partner you were essentially locking in with lots of others, because other people would demand the same, you might have desisted. So what are the areas that I think we ought to try and sort out immediately? I suppose

L Alan Winters (13:24.758)

The first and most obvious, very sensitive, very difficult to do is agriculture. To what extent are we wanting to protect UK farmers, and to what extent are we looking to import to try and keep the price of food down? Clear different interests among the farmers and the consumers, and you sort of have to resolve that. I actually would say I think the government has implicit…

L Alan Winters (13:53.998)

explicitly resolved it in favor of the consumers more than the farmers, but it was not a conscious, well it may have been conscious, but it wasn’t an explicit policy. And you know with food we’ve got all the questions about market access and standards that arise and there that’s, I think that we have not worked out exactly where we stand.

L Alan Winters (14:21.346)

over things like pesticide residues and those sorts of things. So the second big area that would be useful to have clarified in advance is again where do we stand over environmental standards. Government has said it’s not going to do anything that is going to reduce UK standards but that’s I think not

L Alan Winters (14:49.666)

completely cemented in. And of course, we are only a medium-sized power, but that’s still quite important for some of our partners. We do have the ability perhaps to influence their policy of it. And to what extent are we gonna try and insist on environmental issues with them, naming the Paris Convention or something a little bit more active on climate, for instance, and indeed human rights.

L Alan Winters (15:43.558)

Asian model is very similar, or at least the Asian model outside China is very similar. But of course, it’s got this huge problem that if it diverges very far from the EU, it will lose access to EU data or the ability to transfer data with the EU. And that is potentially costly, because so many activities are heavily linked into Europe. And it hasn’t, I think,

L Alan Winters (16:13.426)

resolved that dilemma in its mind. I think finally, we do have to have some conscious decision and I would like to see a conversation about what one does about the sort of general fact that international trade involves specialization. It also involves responding to shocks in the world.

L Alan Winters (16:41.166)

And this specialization, these shocks, have different implications for different regions, for different skill levels, and so on. And some notion about how we go about dealing with that, reassuring people that they might lose from this, but there’ll be something else from which they gain, I think would have been important. There’s a real danger, I think, that trade agreements are gonna get a bad name.

L Alan Winters (17:40.118)

because they can sign whatever they want without telling anybody about it in advance, at least in principle. It arrives, they sign it, it arrives in Parliament to be ratified, it might be embedded in 1,500 pages of text, Parliament has 21 days to consider it. It can’t reject it, it can merely delay it. I mean, this is policy-making for free, you know.

L Alan Winters (18:08.778)

It’s just a great deal easier than setting out white papers, having three debates in the House of Commons, back and forth with the House of Lords and so on. And I confess, I do think they found this a rather nice way of proceeding.

Amar (18:27.983)

That in turn raises a whole range of questions on governance and institutional transparency and so forth, which we probably can find time to address on another occasion. You did mention earlier on the role the EU plays in UK trade at the moment, around 50% of merchandise trade. So just looking at the UK EU TCA, when it was signed at the end of 2020, there was a collective sigh of relief that maybe the worst had been

Amar (18:58.051)

avoided. The reality is though that the UKEU TCA left a lot of unfinished business. I remember, I think it was Lester Thurlow who once described the GATT as the general agreement to talk and talk. It seems that there’s a lot of talking left to be done when it comes to UKEU relationships within the TCA framework, not least because there is a five-year review clause with…

Amar (19:25.591)

gives the possibility for both sides to terminate it should they so wish. Amongst the areas that are where they’re pressing discussion they’re needed, fisheries, services, regulatory corporation and mutual recognition, carbon border pricing, and that’s leaving aside the current vexed issue of the Irish border. So what

Amar (19:51.899)

should the UK’s attitude and priorities be when it approaches these ongoing negotiations? And what sense do you have of the importance attached to this vis-a-vis the broader FTA agenda and as you pointed out the trade-offs that might exist vis-a-vis the broader FTA agenda that the UK is pursuing at a global level?

Amar (20:18.873)

your new town.

L Alan Winters (20:46.258)

more trade is likely to be good for an economy on aggregate and if we are sensible about how we go about implementing it and sensible about perhaps some complementary policies it can be good for almost everyone. And so the overriding wish I would have for a future

L Alan Winters (21:12.814)

a negotiation of the TCA with the EU would be to get a temperature down and the frictions down. And you mentioned a number of the areas where one clearly would wish to do that. I think there are some simple wins like the veterinary agreement. I think we can do more to just facilitate trade in rather ordinary ways about

L Alan Winters (21:41.278)

documentation and so on. The government has promised us that in a couple of years time we’ll have the most efficient border in the world and that would be lovely. But you know let’s also think about some of the sort of simple issues in the meantime. I would argue that the British government needs to go away and think very hard about where it wants regulatory alignment and where it doesn’t.

L Alan Winters (22:10.102)

At the moment, we’ve got into a position where we reserve the right to be unaligned in more or less every dimension, but have chosen not to become unaligned in nearly all of them. That’s almost the worst of all worlds. We’re sort of constraining ourselves de facto, but we don’t have the advantage of guaranteeing that we are obliged to behave in the same way as the Europeans, so that they don’t need to worry about stuff on the border. And similarly,

L Alan Winters (22:39.526)

for imports coming into the UK, we might invent regulations that make it complicated to import stuff from the EU. And suddenly firms that were relying on that would find it embarrassing. I accept that Brexit has happened. I accept that the current government wants to have sovereignty, but sovereignty really is the right to do sensible things in your own interests. And we ought to work out what those are.

L Alan Winters (23:34.39)

advocate for the five-year reviews, a good deal of hard work beforehand, very clear shopping list, and then a negotiation in a sense to see how much of our shopping list we could achieve. At the moment you feel that politics, bits of the governing party are pretty happy to have frictions bubbling up every other week with the EU.

L Alan Winters (24:04.438)

And that’s clearly not very helpful. The idea of most trade policy is to get trade right out of sight in a sense, just so you just don’t have to worry about it at the high levels of government all the time. So I would make that the sort of overriding issue for continuing with the EU. Where does that leave us with other trade agreements?

L Alan Winters (24:31.806)

In a sense, that depends a little bit on what we decide we want to align with the EU over and what we don’t. But it is very clear that you cannot align with, say, the GDPR and have a very, very open regime for the transfer of personal data by businesses. You just have to choose. And given that the European Union is close by…

L Alan Winters (24:58.786)

rich, we have a long history of very close integration with some. Most of those trade-offs I would resolve myself in favor of aligning with the EU and say we just have to accept that for the 2% of trade that goes to Australia maybe we can’t get quite as aligned as we had hoped.

Amar (25:23.091)

Thank you. And so I’m conscious that a lot of our discussions really focused on preferential trade, bilateral trade. That is the multilateral aspect, which the UK has historically been very keen on. And in fact, in the aftermath of the referendum, there’s a lot of talk about WTO rules. WTO has been in a difficult condition for quite some time. Multilateralism more generally is probably at its lowest edge since

Amar (25:53.571)

since the war and not helped by recent conflicts. Does the UK still have an interest in multilateralism and what can it do to actually strengthen the multilateral game?

L Alan Winters (26:05.926)

So the UK has a huge interest in multilateralism, whether that’s explicit in governmental or indeed even in parliamentary minds, I am not quite sure. But in truth, we as a middle-sized power are the very people who gain most from a rules-based multilateral system.

L Alan Winters (26:31.762)

If you’re very big, China and the US, in a sense, you’re a bit less dependent on the rest of the world, and the rest of the world will fairly much fall into line with you. If you’re very small, you know, like a Caribbean island or a very poor economy, you’re so small you don’t scare anyone commercially, and therefore the big players are usually, not always, but usually willing

L Alan Winters (27:27.166)

I mean, you know, it’s perfectly true that the multinational system is sickly at the moment, and it’s not clear, frankly, that it is going to recover. We’ve moved from a period where the multinational system had a hegemon, the US, big, willing, as it were, to enforce the rules, and indeed are willing to obey the rules, even when they didn’t completely suit it.

L Alan Winters (27:57.314)

to one where the US is beginning to get very frustrated with the constraints that the multilateral system imposes on them. So what can middle-sized powers do about it? Well, I guess I would say first of all, talk up multilateralism. The Secretary of State made a speech just before Christmas where she said, look, isn’t it wonderful? We’ve signed trade agreements that cover

L Alan Winters (28:25.002)

750 billion pounds worth of trade. Hallelujah. She didn’t say, we’re a member of a trading club, the World Trade Organization that covers very nearly twice that amount of trade. She could have done, but she didn’t. We ought to be really rigorous in the UK about our adherence to the rules. And that means WTO rules, but also frankly, other stuff that we’ve signed and make a virtue of it. That’d be really clear.

L Alan Winters (28:55.41)

The Kennedy School in Harvard University has run a series of reports on Britain after Brexit. And the latest one had one really big theme about UK trade diplomacy, and that is the need for

L Alan Winters (29:22.734)

prone to claim the credit to be leading, claim the credit for solving the problems and so on. And I did recently look at the way that Canada and Britain’s governments reported the success of the Joint Statement Initiative on domestic services regulation. The Brits claimed almost single-handedly in the headline to have resolved the negotiating problems and…

L Alan Winters (29:51.97)

taking a giant leap forward. The Canadian government just quietly said, well, it’s quite important and it’s gone ahead. And you know better than I do because you’ve actually worked there. This is immensely irritating to our trading partners. You know, the cooperation involves a good deal of sort of humility and sort of standing back. I think the final thing that we can do,

L Alan Winters (30:20.022)

I have not throughout my career been a huge enthusiast for plurilateral arrangements, arrangements between large numbers of countries but not the entirety of the WTO membership. I now think that is the way we have to proceed in order to give the WTO some life. And that’s not just a matter of negotiating stuff that we want. We need to establish a series of

L Alan Winters (30:49.57)

rules, conventions about how plurilaterals will be done in order to persuade the countries that can’t or don’t want to join them that they are nonetheless not threatening. So to guarantee for instance, that the plurilateral always will be open to new members on the same conditions as the original ones got it, you’re not gonna move the goalposts. To be clear that

L Alan Winters (31:16.566)

particularly when you’re talking about regulatory stuff, there’s lots of staff work that needs to be done, lots of expertise and small developing countries can’t afford it. So you support it through aid for trade, something the UK used to do very well, for instance through trade marques in Africa and those sorts of operations doesn’t do us much now. So I do think that Britain actually can play a very serious leadership role.

L Alan Winters (32:13.998)

for one reason or another, they will go along with it.

Amar (32:19.643)

So, leadership with a good dose of humility then would seem to be the watchwords for the UK’s multilateral engagement. I have to say that in my own experience, historically the UK was relatively understated and a humble president of the WTO, so the hubris seems to be a more recent phenomenon.

L Alan Winters (32:26.698)

Yes. Yes.

L Alan Winters (32:44.247)

I can believe that.

Amar (32:46.656)

There may be various reasons for that. Changing tack a bit, you’ve just launched a centre on inclusive trade policy, which you are now responsible for leading. Historically, I guess inclusiveness has, first of all, not really been very high up on the radar screen of trade economists. It’s often been assumed that there will be…

Amar (33:13.555)

policies in place to deal with adverse distributional concerns. And secondly, inclusivity has been viewed from a distributional perspective, that is the idea that there are aggregate gains from trade, but these are not evenly distributed and you have to do something to address that problem. Now, aside from income distribution, what are the other major dimensions of inclusion that need to be

Amar (33:43.444)

tracked in the UK and which will be a priority for you in the next few years.

L Alan Winters (34:16.81)

because we have a political system that gives them devolved powers, sort of the four separate nations of the UK. And so that, in a sense, how trade policy lands in each of those treated as an aggregate is a potentially important issue. But income distribution also varies across a spectrum of skills, potentially between men and women.

L Alan Winters (34:45.478)

potentially over questions of disability and age and generations. Now all of these things are potentially important. Our view in the Center for Inclusive Trade Policy is that we can’t do all of these things, and you know, in some sense, I would…

L Alan Winters (35:43.61)

My view of inclusive trade policy is that actually we need to know what the likely consequences of trade shocker, trade agreement are, and we do need then to be explicit about what are the complementary policies, and these might be well outside traditional trade policy.

L Alan Winters (36:09.666)

So in a sense, what I’m saying is we have to view trade policy in a way, trade policy as a part of the portfolio of economic policies. And rather than just implicitly assuming that everything is there to be fairly explicit, that we recognize that here is a group or a region.

L Alan Winters (36:36.71)

that is going to suffer a hit from this tiny bit of trade policy, and we will work to try and offset that. One of my unfashionable views these days is that one of the ways you do that is by facilitating internal mobility of people. There’s not been a single country that’s ever developed without substantial internal population.

Amar (36:45.966)

work through the time I’ve got left. One of my unpassionate issues with these things is

Amar (37:00.673)

It’s not in the single country that’s ever been like this.

L Alan Winters (37:07.102)

And therefore, I don’t think, I think to declare that as a position, everybody must be able to stay exactly where they are and in some sense receive the average income or even the average increase in income is not particularly realistic. We actually get economic dynamism by facilitating people moving around. And that involves, you know, issues over housing, possibly over

Amar (37:07.905)

Therefore, I don’t think, I think to be clear, that if it’s a position, everybody must be able to say exactly where they are.

Amar (37:31.105)

That means all the issues of analogy.

L Alan Winters (37:36.382)

other services. I see that all as part of inclusive trade policy. But let me say, the Centre for Inclusive Trade Policy is very inclusive, different disciplines, different institutions in all four nations of the UK. And we don’t have an institutional position, we’re not lobbyists, we’re not a political party, we’re a bunch of researchers. And the very first thing that we’ve put up on our nascent website

Amar (37:39.537)

I see them.

Amar (37:45.777)

And let me say that the Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology is very important. It’s a good place to do things that will be essential for most people to be there. And we hope to have you at the end.

Amar (38:02.593)

The very first thing to push up on our nature’s work plan is a series of more bi-variant researches in the ICT, saying what it is that they think they can participate in. That’s why they talk about it.

L Alan Winters (38:06.418)

is a series of blogs by various of the researchers in CITP saying what it is that they think inclusive trade policy is about, why are they part of the Centre for Inclusive Trade Policy, and they, you know, they’re similar, but they’re not identical.

Amar (38:28.965)

Okay, and so just building on, I guess, one of the points you said, which was about not viewing trade policy in isolation, one of the major bits of evidence to come out of trade policy research in the last 20 years is that businesses self-select into trade on the basis of existing productivity and efficiencies. And to the extent that those are not evenly distributed across the country, you can expect to have big differences in

Amar (38:56.301)

in the effects of trade policies, particularly on wages, for example. So if these pre-existing differences are that important, I mean, how much of inclusiveness in trade is really a matter of trade policy and how much is it a matter for skills, labor markets, and other policies that really are big determinants of firm level efficiencies? And I guess secondly, a lot of trade negotiations in the past

Amar (39:26.281)

being focused on the barter model of market access, but here we’re really looking at negotiations on regulation and institutions. What does that have in terms of implications for inclusiveness given regulatory convergence and disciplines and regulation really have to take into account social attitudes towards risk, which will vary a lot within a country.

L Alan Winters (39:50.522)

Yes, so I think that to go back to the beginning of your question, it may seem a perverse thing for somebody who’s leading a centre for inclusive trade policy to say, but it really is much broader than just the simple levers of trade policy as simply understood. And that how do you get into that? It’s not that I want to run all these

L Alan Winters (40:43.586)

for the areas that suffer or don’t benefit very much from trade. Exactly as you said, we have learned recently how very important the heterogeneity between firms is. And we’ve equally well learned that when you’ve got big strong firms, they put more effort or are more attractive. They put more effort into recruiting people so they get better workers, they’re paid more.

L Alan Winters (41:13.202)

everything is somehow better. Trade tends to, big companies manage to get over trade shocks, mostly, it seems, reasonably successfully. What happens when you have a trade shock or a trade policy shock is it is the firms that are initially less successful that seem to, as it were, suffer the hits. And if they have got the…

L Alan Winters (41:41.618)

less successful workers and maybe the less successful regions, you can see how that spreads out into distribution across levels of the income distribution. What are the answers? Well, I mean, I think, you know, I’ve said, I’ve mentioned, I do think that we have to recognize internal mobility and a really important part of that is the equality of opportunity. So I

L Alan Winters (42:09.314)

think in the very long run, we really do need to think about leveling up education. We do need to recognize that large cities have an economic role and perform in different ways economically from small towns. You are not going to get a world-class firm into every town of 30,000 people. What you might hope is that nearly everyone

L Alan Winters (43:08.49)

I should also say that one of the important dimensions of this is who would you trust to make these decisions? And so a further element of the CITP research program is about the governance of trade policy. Now partly it refers back to something I said earlier about the governments discovered that free trade agreements are just policymaking on the free. They just don’t have to talk to anybody about it more or less.

L Alan Winters (43:38.762)

Other policies are more complicated. So there’s a parliamentary dimension to that. But there’s also very serious questions about seeking, hearing the views of different stakeholders, helping those stakeholders who are not well organized. Big firms are organized, consumers are typically not organized. So there might be a case for, no, I think there is a case for establishing means whereby

L Alan Winters (44:07.17)

consumer interests get represented in the trade remedies decisions, for instance. We then have the question of the devolved administrations and that takes us to regulation. One of the very smart bits about the devolution of the sort of 1990s and 2000s was that some bright spark in the British government worked out that what you do is you devolve all the stuff that is determined by Europe. So there’s really very little scope.

L Alan Winters (44:36.558)

for the nations to diverge, at least as far as markets are concerned. Now we’re out on our own, we don’t have that sort of big sort of wraparound from the EU and the question arises, well, what do you do about internal regulations? The current regulatory structure is the internal markets bill, which is force majeure, where the Westminster government declares that…

L Alan Winters (45:06.05)

forget about your local regulations. If it’s okay in Wales, it’s okay wherever you are. And that’s not very satisfactory politically. You know, it keeps, it just keeps frictions rolling over. So I think we also want to look at who has a voice, who has a state, what are the procedures whereby different interests in trade policy

L Alan Winters (45:35.862)

get represented in the policy making process. We hope, I don’t know if we’ve got evidence yet, but we hope that if you have a more representative process in making trade policy, actually the outcome overall will be somewhat more inclusive. But in a sense, you know, referring back to earlier parts of our conversation, and a lot of this involves…

L Alan Winters (46:03.862)

serious talking, recognizing explicit trade-offs. I mentioned a series of blogs that we started the CITP off with. I wrote one where I said the title of which was Inclusive Trade Policy, an Etiquette Guide for Good Governance. In other words, I don’t see it’s inclusive trade policy as you tariff of 5%, you have a regulation that’s aligned with the EU.

L Alan Winters (46:33.566)

It is much more, you think hard about this stuff, you collect information, you make a commitment to people that they will not be desperately worse off as a result. And that’s the way, in a sense, that we get something that is ultimately more inclusive.

Amar (46:57.481)

Thank you very much, Alan. Those are very challenging insights. I think we’ve reached the end of our time together. I think there’s a lot there to dwell on, and it seems that the UK does face a lot of challenges, but it also has a lot of opportunities to be innovative on a variety of issues, both in terms of its approach to international trade and also the way it handles matters such as inclusiveness, which really have come to the fore of everyone’s thinking.

L Alan Winters (46:57.97)

Thank you very much Alan.

L Alan Winters (47:19.406)

and also the way it handles matters such as inclusiveness, which really have come to the fore of everyone’s thinking over the last few years for a whole variety of reasons. So thank you again. We really appreciate the time you’ve taken to speak to the Play Knowledge Matters podcast. We look forward to seeing you.

Amar (47:26.781)

over the last few years for a whole variety of reasons. So thank you again. We really appreciate the time you’ve taken to speak to the Trade Knowledge Matters podcast. We look forward to seeing what comes out of the center. And so we wish you well on that. And we also look forward to seeing how the UK progresses in its international trade agenda. So on that note, thank you again and thank you to our listeners.

Amar (47:54.389)

We’ll be back in a short while with our next podcast. Thank you very much.

Amar (48:03.041)

Thank you.