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EU and Britain to present post-Brexit plan on WTO membership

Reuters  |  GENEVA 

By Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) - The European Union and plan to put forward a joint proposal for reform of the terms of their World Trade Organization (WTO) membership in September or October, an source said on Monday, as negotiates to leave the

The two sides are also discussing sharing liabilities from trade disputes including litigation over Airbus subsidies in a long-running case with the United States, the source said.

"Currently we are in talks with the United Kingdom to come to a joint approach on the matter, on all the aspects of the divorce, with regard to the And I would think that, come the month of September/October, we will be able to come jointly to the rest of the (WTO) membership," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The joint approach would address aspects of the EU's membership terms, known as its "schedules", that are not easily split between and the other 27 members: agricultural tariff quotas, agricultural subsidies and commitments on services trade.

"The plan is (that) we would explain together how we would see the disentanglement of the United Kingdom from the commitments and schedules," the source said.

The joint approach would also deal with Britain's wish to join the WTO's Government Procurement Agreement, which liberalises access to procurement markets between signatories. The is a member of the agreement but is not.

Asked how important it was to finalise revision of the terms of membership before the and formally divorce, the source said: "I have the impression that the United Kingdom believes that is important."

Britain's Brexit minister, David Davis, pledged to "get down to work" as he kicked off a first full round of negotiations in Brussels on Monday but, a year after Britons voted to leave the EU, their government seemed at war with itself over the divorce terms.

also faces a multi-billion euro bill as it leaves the EU, to cover ongoing commitments.

One of those costs may be a provision to cover damages that could be awarded to the United States in the world's largest trade dispute, the 13-year-old battle over allegedly illegal subsidies to plane giants Airbus and Seattle-based Boeing .

"I think that is also part of the discussion," the source said, without giving any details. "I'm not sure that will be clarified already. I think we're now working first and foremost on schedules."

(Reporting by Tom Miles; writing by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, July 17 2017. 19:19 IST