Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is beginning to prepare its new World Trade Organization (WTO) membership terms ahead of its exit from the European Union and will seek to closely replicate the existing EU ones, trade minister Liam Fox said on Monday.

 

As Britain is currently a member of the WTO through the EU, it will need to agree new membership terms, or "schedules", setting out its obligations as a member of the club following Brexit.

 

"In order to minimize disruption to global trade as we leave the EU, over the coming period the government will prepare the necessary draft schedules which replicate as far as possible our current obligations," Fox said in a written statement to parliament.

 

"The government will undertake this process in dialogue with the WTO membership. This work is a necessary part of our leaving the EU. It does not prejudge the outcome of the eventual UK-EU trading arrangements."

 

Many trade experts say this "copy and paste" option, copying EU schedules and pasting them onto a blank template for Britain, should be fairly simple except in agriculture.

The UK's schedules will still require agreement by all other WTO members.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison)