- The leading authority on world trade has told the BBC that there are likely to be costs attached to a “hard Brexit”
Roberto Azevedo, director general of the World Trade Organisation, said that negotiations between the UK and the European Union would be difficult and “extremely unpredictable”.
He said achieving a smooth exit and a new trade agreement by March 2019 was “ambitious”.
Although he made it clear that a “no deal” departure from the EU would not be “the end of the world” as trade would continue, a free trade deal was preferable.
“Absolutely” he answered when I asked if a trade deal with the EU was better than relying on WTO rules on tariffs.
“I don’t think this is going to be an easy negotiation, to be frank with you,” he told me.
“I think it’s going to be very tough because of the number of elements and variables involved in this conversation, trade negotiations are extremely complex, they are very sensitive politically.”
Mr Azevedo is a significant voice in the Brexit debate as “no deal” would mean relying on the trade rules of the WTO, which he runs.
That would mean tariffs on many of the products the UK exports to the rest of the EU, and on EU imports into Britain.
Source: BBC News
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