Articles, Briefing Notes & Speeches

The Trade Policy Research Centre is concerned with realistic solutions to the UK's trading relationships with other entities, especially the European Union.

"Staying in Europe for Trade": CapX, 13 November 2014

In an article for CapX—a new global pro-market news service, making the case for popular capitalism—Ronald Stewart-Brown argues that if we are thinking of withdrawal we should not let the unattainable best be the enemy of the attainable good. Therefore we should be prepared to negotiate to stay in Europe for trade through a new inter-governmental customs union agreement with the EU.

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Now it's time to think outside the box

This blog on the Fresh Start Project website ( is based on a speech given by Ronald Stewart-Brown at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for European Reform on 22nd May 2012. It argues that it may be difficult to negotiate for the reform and recovery of powers within the EU treaties that many would like to see. But there is a lot to be done to make the TPRC's favoured alternative of a new, essentially inter-governmental customs union based agreement with the EU into a credible policy option.

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Britain must now think through European trade options

This online version of Ronald Stewart-Brown's article in The Daily Telegraph on 5th January 2012 argues that the UK needs a fallback plan to leave the European Union in order to strengthen its negotiating position within it. Yet the most widely canvassed ways of leaving the EU would not work. To retain free movement of goods, the UK would need to negotiate to stay in customs union with the EU, but on a new inter-governmental basis. This article was later published on the Fresh Start Project website.


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So near and yet so far in Geneva

This article by Ronald Stewart-Brown reflects on how close World Trade Organization members came to reaching agreement in Geneva in July 2008 on the key agricultural and industrial issues at the heart of the Doha Round. But since 6 November, when the text of this article was finalised, the global economy had been in continuing decline and there was insufficient convergence on outstanding issues to justify a new ministerial meeting tentatively planned for December. The prospects of completing the round by the end of 2009 had therefore weakened.

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