Dec 12, 2019

U.K. election: WTO paralysis raises more questions for future terms of trade

Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

Millions of Britons are casting their votes today in what could be the most consequential election in living memory. One question now has less of a clear answer than ever: What will happen to Britain's terms of trade if it leaves the EU single market?

Driving the news: Polling suggests that Boris Johnson's Conservative Party will win about 43% of the votes. Under Britain's winner-takes-all voting system, that'll be enough to give him a modest overall majority in Parliament.

  • With a majority, Johnson will be able to take the U.K. out of the EU on January 31. Johnson is adamant that he won't abide a "Brexit in name only" — which means that he's going to risk a hard Brexit where Britain trades on World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Our thought bubble: Trump could not have eviscerated the WTO at a worse time for Johnson, who is in many ways his British doppelgänger. If WTO rules are worthless, Britain will have even less negotiating leverage against trading partners like the U.S. and the EU.

Go deeper: Boris Johnson accused of hiding in refrigerator to avoid TV interview

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U.K. Parliament approves Boris Johnson's Brexit deal

Photo: Leon Neal/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

U.K. lawmakers approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal on Friday with a 358-234 vote, showcasing the power of Johnson's new majority after last week's general election, per the BBC.

Why it matters: The vote puts the country on course for a Jan. 31 exit from the European Union. It'll also lock in a transition period through the end of 2020 — in which the U.K. will have left the EU but remain subject to many of its rules — in order for the government to flesh out new international trade deals and relationships.

Go deeper: Britain remade by Boris Johnson

Keep ReadingArrowDec 20, 2019

Britain remade by Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pulls a pint in County Durham, northeast England. Photo: Lindsey Parnaby/Pool via AP

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's landslide erased Britain's political map and upended its economy, The Atlantic's London-based Tom McTague writes on a stunning election with global echoes.

Why it matters: "[L]ess than four years ago, Johnson was still London’s mayor and undecided about whether to back Leave or Remain ... and Britain’s economy was among the most dynamic in Europe," McTague writes.

Go deeperArrowDec 14, 2019

Brexit is happening: U.K. Parliament gives final approval

Boris Johnson. Photo: WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.K.'s House of Commons voted 330-231 in favor of the European Union withdrawal agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Why it matters: The bill must still be passed by the House of Lords, but the Commons' approval essentially ensures that Brexit will happen on Jan. 31. The passage of the bill after three years of deadlock is a result of the landslide victory Johnson's Conservative Party won in last month's snap election.

Go deeperArrowJan 9, 2020