Prime Minister hopeful Boris Johnson claims Gatt Article 24 will allow free trade between the UK and the EU post a no-deal Brexit. But the international shipping expert ParcelHero says Gatt 24 can’t be implemented without a deal – making it a Catch 22 situation.
The Conservative Party leadership contender Boris Johnson claimed in a recent BBC leadership debate that Gatt Article 24 would mean no tariffs on goods crossing the EU-UK border. But the international delivery expert ParcelHero says that Article 24 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt) can only apply if all sides agree. And since a no-deal Brexit means there has been no agreement, Gatt 24 cannot apply.
Says ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT: ‘The EU and UK could introduce a no tariff arrangement at borders if they so choose, as part of an interim arrangement; but that would have to be by mutual agreement. One side cannot impose this on the other. And since by definition, no deal means there has been no agreement on tariffs, Mr Johnson’s plan could not work. Sorry to give away the plot to George Clooney fans, but Catch 22 is a novel by Joseph Heller referring to a supposed US Air Force rule that a pilot continuing to fly combat missions without asking for relief is regarded as insane, but is considered sane enough to continue flying if he does make such a request. This is exactly the dilemma Mr Johnston finds himself in. You can’t have a no-tariff agreement at EU borders if there has been no agreement. It’s a circular argument.’
In the BBC interview Mr Johnson said: “There will be no tariffs, there will be no quotas because what we want to do is to get a standstill in our current arrangements under Gatt 24, or whatever it happens to be, until such a time as we have negotiated the [free trade agreement].” Concludes David: ‘In fact, Gatt Article 24 is of no relevance if we cannot agree Brexit terms with the EU by October 31st. Instead – if we crash out without a deal – we will be trading with our EU neighbours under WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules.’
See ParcelHero’s latest study on the impact of Brexit at: https://www.parcelhero.com/blog/expert-shipping-advice/study-will-brexit-resolution-whatever-its-shape-bring-dividends-or-disaster