The European Union trades on WTO terms — as the UK can

Graham Charles Lear
5 min readJan 28, 2019

The EU trades on WTO terms The EU Commission alone can speak for the 28 member states However the UK’s interests are vastly different than, say, Romania’s EU is committed to trade that is “fair, predictable and based on common [WTO] rules”

The UK is already a WTO member and will “GO WTO” on 29 March 2019


The WTO’s highest decision-making body is the Ministerial Conference. The EU Trade Commissioner represents the EU in this forum.

The European Commission also represents the EU in the General Council of the WTO, which acts on behalf of the Ministerial Conference and meets regularly subsidiary WTO bodies, which set up rules for specific areas of world trade, e.g. respecting the environment and monitoring how they’re applied.

It’s clear then that the EU uses the WTO for international trade, just as the UK could upon exit.


Here are the EU’s objectives, in their own words:- keep the world’s trading system fair, predictable and based on common rules modernize the world’s trade markets so European goods, services, and investment can benefit follow the common WTO rules, and make sure others also play by the rules.

Make the WTO more open by interacting with both non-members and other international organizations bring developing countries into the WTO, its decision-making, and the global economy reinforces the WTO’s support for sustainable trade policies worldwide.

Most readers will agree that the EU has laid out its stall. Its primary objective is to make the trade “fair, predictable and based on common rules”. It does not state that it wants to make the trade as difficult as possible for one country (the UK) that had the temerity to reject EU membership.


As the EU says: “Both the European Union and the individual EU countries are members of the WTO.” [Source: EU Trade Directorate]

I have pointed out before that the UK was a founder member of GATT, the precursor to the WTO, and of the WTO itself when it formed in 1995. This is hardly surprising, given that the UK is the 5th-largest economy in the world. [Source: IMF, 2018]


Here is how the EU has taken over the whole area of trade.

The Commission gets permission from the Council of the EU to negotiate on behalf of the European Union.

The Commission coordinates the EU negotiating a position with the EU Member States by consulting with the Council’s trade policy committee.

The Commission regularly informs the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee (INTA ) of WTO issues.

When an agreement is negotiated at the WTO, the Commission needs the formal authorization of the Council and European Parliament to then sign the agreement on behalf of the EU. The Commission initiates and handles WTO complaints with the Council support and may propose retaliatory measures to the Council.

As readers can see, the EU has taken over the voice of its member states. No individual country can represent the needs of its own industries, service providers, farmers, fishermen, or indeed the needs of its own consumers in regard to imported products and services.

The unelected EU Commission might ‘consult’ and ‘inform’ member states via the Council and EU Parliament, but its agenda is control and uniformity.

In practice, the EU Commission is representing 28 economies which are vastly different. The trading priorities of a country like Romania or Slovenia are completely different to those of an enormous, developed economy such as that of the UK.

The French government suffers from powerful lobby groups such as the farmers who regularly block motorways, ports, the streets of Paris, etc. For Monsieur Macron, preventing the imports of cheap food and protecting the name ‘champagne’ have high political priorities. And because we’re talking about France, the Commission goes out of its way to appease and adopt the same priorities.

This is precisely why the UK will benefit so much when it regains its independence and sovereignty. Once again, the UK government will be able to speak and negotiate at the WTO in the interests of its own businesses and its own people.

I have shown how the EU uses the WTO rules for trading with other countries. This is very well-established.

I have also shown how the EU is committed to fair practices based on common WTO rules.

If the EU obeys the rules, then the UK will be doubly efficient in this regard because that’s the way the UK has traditionally been. Many would argue that the UK is overly scrupulous in its adherence to international agreements when others are less so.

Trading under the terms of the WTO is what the EU does. If it’s good enough for the EU when the UK is still a member, how can it behave otherwise to the world’s fifth-largest economy when the UK becomes independent?

I would also point out that we joined the world’s only declining trade block. It’s like tying ourselves to a corpse. Put it another way, the EU has become what the UK was before we joined the Common Market back in the 70s the sick man of Europe. Except now the EU is the sick man of the world.

Every continent whether you like it or not is outgrowing Europe economically, think of the growth rate in Asia, then take a look at the growth rate in the EU. That should tell every single person that we are in the wrong place and that once we leave the world is our oyster after all don’t ever forget we were the greatest traders the world has ever seen our nation was built on trade and the trade routes that we opened across the entire world. Trade is in our blood we may have lost our way in the last 45 years through incompetent Politicians who sold their souls and ultimately our Nation to what is now one of the most corrupt and useless organizations in the world called the European Union. However, that is about to change in the coming months. 29th March 2019 is our D Day. 11 pm 29th March 2019 is the time when we take back what is rightfully ours, our right to trade once again with the world on our own terms and not the EU’s terms.



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.