Brexit and the UK’s trade agreements: advising and training on international trade law

Credit: Guillaume Bolduc/Unsplash

Between 1973 and Brexit, all the UK’s trade deals were negotiated by the European Union (EU). Now the UK is an independent player on the international stage, including at the World Trade Organization (WTO), and able to negotiate its own trade agreements with other countries.

Since Brexit, Lorand Bartels’ research on the law of the WTO and free trade agreements has propelled him to the forefront of policy debate in the UK.

His research has had a direct impact on the UK government’s approach to its independent membership of the WTO. He has advised the UK and Scottish governments and parliamentary committees on trade agreements and had a central role in the UK government’s expert level training programme for more than 500 trade negotiators.

His work has also had a significant impact on public understanding of the UK’s negotiations, including a free trade agreement with the EU. In 2019 Bartels was appointed to the UK Government Technical Advisory Group on alternative arrangements to the Northern Ireland ‘backstop’.

“The impact of this expert programme, steered by Bartels, has been considerable. Over 500 civil servants are now prepared for frontline trade negotiations …”

– Dean of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Trade Policy and Negotiations Faculty