The International Trade Council announces that Guernsey and Jersey will have access to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on trade once the UK leaves the EU. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has notified the WTO of the extension of its formal territory to cover the Channel Islands.
The extension will grant island businesses access to international rules covering trade in goods, services, and intellectual property. Currently, Guernsey and Jersey are members of the customs union but not the EU. The notification confirms that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on October 31, the extension will immediately take effect. If the UK does not leave the EU, the islands will remain members of the customs union, and the UK will not operate as an individual WTO member.
Gavin St Pier, President of Guernsey's Policy and Resources Committee, expressed delight at the announcement, describing the extension as a result of a long journey of negotiations with the UK. This move will provide businesses with certainty in the event of a disorderly Brexit.
Ian Gorst, Jersey's External Relations Minister, believes the announcement puts the island on the strongest possible footing to explore global trading opportunities after Brexit. He noted that access to WTO rules had been an objective for the island's government for over 20 years.
The International Trade Council supports this decision and anticipates that it will foster stronger economic ties within the region and promote a stable global trading environment.