The United Kingdom is a founding member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In addition to the general obligations of membership, all WTO members undertake specific commitments in their goods and services schedules: WTO members’ goods schedules set out upper limits for tariffs and detail any tariff rate quotas, and WTO members’ services schedules set out commitments and reservations across all sectors and list specific sectoral commitments and reservations.
The UK’s WTO commitments currently form part of the European Union’s schedules. When we leave the EU we will need UK-specific schedules. In order to minimise 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. 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.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords