AFTER BREXIT: State Aid under WTO disciplines

15 Sep 2016

Blog post written by David Unterhalter SC and Thomas Sebastian.

Amidst the speculation as to what legal regime is likely to govern the UK’s trading relationships with its major trading partners after Brexit, the safest view is that it is far too soon to tell. But one outcome is tolerably clear. The UK’s membership of the World Trade Organization (“WTO“) will provide the floor of rights and obligations that will govern the UK‘s relationship with other WTO members, including the EU post-Brexit. In a worst case, if the two year period under Article 50 runs out without agreement on key areas of trade, the WTO Agreements are likely to be determining until some future agreement is reached. And the same is true of the UK’s relationship with other trading partners: until bilateral agreements are concluded, the WTO Agreements are likely to prevail. However, the UK’s position as a member of the WTO, once it leaves the EU, is not without some legal complexity (and we will return to this topic separately).

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