Trade Policy: the issues for Wales. Securing Wales’ Future

Author (Corporate)
Publication Date February 2018
Content Type

Further information

On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU), including a majority of those who voted in Wales. The Welsh Government said it accepted the result, even though it had not been the recommended outcome of the government.

Since then, the Welsh Government worked to protect and promote the interests of Wales during Brexit negotiations.

During 2017 it published a number of key documents outlining its position and encouraging a dialogue within Wales and elsewhere:

+ White Paper Securing Wales’ Future. Transition from the European Union to a new relationship with Europe, January 2017
+ Brexit and Devolution, June 2017
+ Brexit and Fair Movement of People, September 2017
+ Regional Investment in Wales after Brexit, December 2017
+ Trade Policy: the issues for Wales, February 2018The Welsh Government published in February 2018 a report called Trade Policy: the issues for Wales. Securing Wales’ Future.

The Brexit trade paper, supported by an economic impact analysis from Cardiff Business School, argued the Welsh economy was best protected by retaining full access to the European Single Market and membership of a customs union.

The paper set out the severe impact a hard Brexit would have on Welsh jobs and the economy. If the UK were to move to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, the Welsh economy could shrink by 8% - 10%, which would be the equivalent of between £1,500 and £2,000 per person in Wales.

The report showed the Welsh economy would be disproportionately impacted by a hard Brexit and identified that the sectors most at risk from tariffs were automotive, chemicals, steel and electrical engineering, while the aerospace industry was most at risk from non-tariff barriers. These were sectors which were amongst the most productive in Wales and provided a large number of highly-skilled, well-paid jobs.

The trade paper called on the UK government to provide evidence of how new trade deals would replace the benefits of access to the EU. The Welsh Government also wanted decisions on new trading relationships with the EU and the wider world to be taken in partnership with devolved administrations to fully reflect the interests of all parts of the UK.

In February 2018 the new Welsh think tank Welsh Centre for Public Policy also published a related report Sub-national Government Involvement in International Trade Negotiations. Evidence review

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Related Links
ESO: Find more information on Wales and the EU Referendum, 23 June 2016
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
Wales: Government: Brexit
Wales: Government: News, 02.02.18: First Minister sets out vision for trade post-Brexit
BBC News, 02.02.18: Carwyn Jones warns over international Brexit trade deals
The Guardian, 02.02.18: Hard Brexit and China deal would wipe out Welsh steel industry, first minister claims

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