• WTO warns on disruption to UK in the case of a no-deal Brexit: The WTO has warned about potential disruption for the UK from a no-deal Brexit, saying that it is “very unlikely” that the government will have agreed tariffs and quotas with all other member countries by next March. Hardline Brexiters have pointed to the WTO as a safety net that would allow trade to continue, with additional barriers, even if Britain left the EU without a deal. But Roberto Azevêdo, the head of the WTO, said on Friday that other countries would look to take advantage of the UK’s position, complicating or preventing agreement on some points. Additionally, in a no deal scenario, Mr Azevedo made clear that the EU could not exempt the UK from tariffs. “The EU cannot discriminate among the WTO members . . . The other members pay tariffs, so the UK will have to pay tariffs as well,” he said. Under the same WTO rules, Britain could impose zero tariffs on some goods – as proposed by some Brexiters – but it would have to do so for all WTO members. (Financial Times)
  • Lidington indicates that October is no longer a deadline for Brexit agreement: In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Lidington said that the EU would have no problem scheduling an emergency meeting to finalise the deal and that a November deadline would be “manageable”. This week, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, also said that October was no longer an absolute deadline but noted that talks must be wrapped up “certainly not later than the beginning of November”. Such statements did not come as a surprise – insiders have long expected the official timetable to slip – but it means that the EU and the UK government are now openly saying that a final withdrawal agreement will probably take longer than expected. Both sides have been working on the assumption that the deal is supposed be agreed at the European council meeting starting on 18 October, one of the regular summits for EU leaders scheduled well in advance. (The Guardian)