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Ian Mitchell is a senior fellow and the director of development cooperation in Europe at the Center for Global Development. He leads CGD’s work in Europe on how governments’ policies accelerate or inhibit development and poverty reduction—considering both the effectiveness of aid and policies beyond aid including trade, migration, environment, and security. He is also an associate fellow at Chatham House and at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Mitchell has expertise in the economics and developmental impact of including on trade, agriculture, and policy development in the EU and G20. He leads the annual Commitment to Development Index (CDI) and the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA). Recently, he has developed new measures of how agriculture and trade policies affect lower income countries; identified new metrics of aid effectiveness; and developed new approaches to the UK’s development policy post-Brexit.
Until 2016, Mitchell worked as an economist and senior civil servant in the UK government. At the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), he was Deputy Chief Economist and was responsible for economic analysis on EU, agricultural and environmental issues. Between 2014 and 2015, he chaired the Agricultural Markets Information System established by the G20 to mitigate global food commodity volatility. At DEFRA, Mitchell was also responsible for the UK’s economic analysis on food & resource security and animal disease risk & outbreaks.
Earlier in his career, Mitchell undertook economic analysis on education and social mobility at the UK Department for Education. He led the evaluation of higher education reform including the introduction of tuition fees and researched on social mobility in the UK using both income and broader measures of well-being. Mitchell’s career began at Ernst and Young and has also included roles at HM Treasury and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
Exports from the world’s poorest nations to the UK will be lower as a result of Brexit, a joint analysis of the UK’s new tariff plans by the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO), the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the Center for Global Development (CGD) reveals.
While the UK has announced plans to reduce tariffs below EU levels for wealthier nations once the transition period ends this year, trade experts are warning that many tariffs for developing countries are set to be retained at current levels, leaving the poorest countries at an economic disadvantage.
The analysis also warns that traders from lower income countries would also be hit by additional costs of customs checks when exporting to the UK via the EU; and that existing trade deals with Cameroon, C?te D’Ivoire, Ghana and Kenya, which would give them duty-free access to the UK, are yet to be rolled-over.
The report’s authors say the proposed tariff changes do nothing to advance the Government’s long-standing pledge to use Brexit to improve market access for the world’s poorest countries.
Mattia Di Ubaldo, Research Fellow in the University of Sussex Business School and a fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory said “At the moment the poorest countries are exempted from tariffs on exports to the UK, which gives them a competitive advantage relative to other countries. Lowering the tariffs which these other countries face reduces this advantage and so reduces the poorest nations’ exports.”
Lower middle income countries will also be squeezed on around the two-thirds of their exports which receive similar preferences– but will benefit from the new lower UK tariff rates on the exports where they currently pay the full tariff.
Overall, the research found that while higher income and some middle-income countries will see higher exports to the UK as a result of the changes, most lower income countries will have lower exports.
Specifically, the world’s 41 poorest countries would see the value of their exports to the UK fall by more $3 million a year while 33 lower income countries that have Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EU, and with which the UK is trying to sign agreements, would be hit by increased competition and stand to lose around $19 million in exports (0.32%), the researchers found.
By comparison, the higher-income and middle-income countries facing the lowered UK Global Tariff will see their imports increase by some $1.9 billion (1.52%).
L. Alan Winters, Professor of Economics and founding director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory, said “The UK government has tailored its new tariff to try to avoid harming lower income countries’ exports, but it cannot achieve this perfectly if it wants to lower tariffs in general. Countries that pay no tariffs at present have nothing to gain from tariff reforms, so to help them you need to look at other dimensions.”
Ian Mitchell, Senior Policy Fellow at the Center for Global Development, said “Trade is crucial to development, as China and South Korea have shown to the benefit of UK consumers. Despite the UK Government’s three-year-old pledge to improve trade access for the poorest countries post-Brexit, those countries will instead face additional challenges from January. The UK is not keeping its promise”
The researchers recommend cutting the tariffs lower middle-income countries pay on goods which are not supplied at all by the poorest countries. The analysis identifies scores of such tariff lines in excess of 10% on products such as tuna, pineapple and beans which could be reduced without harming UK producers or the UK’s negotiating position in future trade deals.
The study also calls for longer-term reforms that simplify trade with the world’s poorest nations, levelling the playing field by reducing the substantial support for UK agriculture and proposes the UK pursues a strategy that encourages mutually beneficial trade and development.
The full report is available at http://www.italian-ceramics.com/publication/developing-country-trade-access-after-brexit-uks-plans-generalized-system-preferences.
This paper looks at how the UK can, after Brexit, develop a world-leading trade for development policy. It uses a systematic assessment of how rich country trade policies affect developing countries to identify the leading approaches used elsewhere. It then identifies and describes four key steps: i) eliminating or lowering tariffs; ii) improving preferential access for the very poorest countries; iii) cutting red tape at the border; and iv) enhancing the effectiveness of its aid for trade. These steps would enable the UK to improve substantially on the approach taken by the EU and other countries, benefit UK consumers and businesses, and set a new standard in trade policy for development.