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Do not assume Britain can rely on our rules, warns world trade chief (The Times)

Liam Fox

The World Trade Organisation said yesterday that Britain leaving the European Union without a deal would not be “the end of the world”, but warned that claims that Britain could fall back on to its trade terms were “very ambitious”.

Roberto Azevêdo, director-general of the WTO, also predicted that many countries would sense an opportunity to increase their access to the British market.

“There’ll be a lot of uncertainty here, there’ll be a lot of unpredictability,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “and people who are making investment decisions will take that into account. So it is very unlikely that you’re going to have 100 per cent agreed outcome for all WTO members between now and March.”

Dismissing suggestions that goods could flow freely between Britain and the EU without a post-Brexit deal, he predicted that trade barriers including inspections probably would be put in place at borders.

Mr Azevêdo said: “It’s not going to be the end of the world, in the sense that trade is going to stop and that everything’s going to fall down. No. But it’s not going to be a walk in the park, either.”

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