Peter Ungphakorn Profile picture
Mainly trade stuff. After WTO Secretariat 1996-2015, back (occasionally) in journalism. Analysis for @IHSMarkitAgri. Usual disclaimers on RT etc.
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Sep 28, 2018 4 tweets 3 min read
Boris Johnson gave interviews to @Peston and @bbclaurak today. What's the difference?

(But please, no gratuitous BBC-bashing. That's not the point)

@bbclaurak, a "political editor" focused on whether Johnson was challenging Theresa May.

Important politically, but plays down how weak Johnson's actual proposal is

Sep 24, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
The UK government "no deal" paper on geographical indications confirms some intentions stated in the Chequers White Paper, and continues an intriguing additional detail.


Confirms: protection for UK geographical indications will automatically continue, but owners of EU GIs protected in the UK will have to re-apply for protection.

What wasn't in the Chequers paper is "broadly mirror the current EU regime"

2/3… Screenshot of text under the heading
Sep 1, 2018 7 tweets 3 min read
What are the implications of this?

(Geographical indications or GIs = names defining BOTH the origin AND the quality/ characteristics/reputation of products. When protected, the products can be made elsewhere, but use of the name is restricted)…

One view is that the UK wants to turn away from the EU’s system for protecting geographical indications in order to make it easier to negotiate trade deals with the US, Australia, New Zealand and others who dislike the EU’s approach

Aug 11, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
Sadly this kind of comment is appearing more frequently, since Leavers claimed the "WTO option" is fine.

If we're concerned that information about the EU is wrong, we shouldn't make the same mistake with the WTO.

"Unelected", "telling us what to do" are both inappropriate

1/4 Is the WTO run by unelected people? (Is the United Nations?)

No and yes. The WTO is run by its member governments. The top decision-making body is the Ministerial Conference: trade or foreign ministers from 164 members. Many if not most are elected.…

2/4 Screenshot of the linked page, section on the
Aug 11, 2018 6 tweets 3 min read
This is a truly useful Reality Check

I hope the excellent @BBCChrisMorris doesn't mind me commenting on some points. The WTO is always complicated.…

It's really important to understand WTO rules.

All WTO members are governed by WTO rules even if they have free trade deals (FTAs).

1 The FTAs themselves come under WTO rules.

2 Countries may agree to deviate from SOME rules in their FTAs, but FTAs don't cover everything.

2/5 Screenshot of: So what would WTO rules mean in practice? First, the basics. What is the WTO? The WTO is the place where countries negotiate the rules of international trade - 164 countries are members and, if they don't have free trade agreements with each other, they trade under
Aug 6, 2018 4 tweets 3 min read
Recent articles claim no UK-EU deal in March & trading on WTO terms won't be a problem. The focus has been on non-tariff barriers. The analysis has been criticised heavily.

The articles have also dismissed tariffs because EU average tariffs are low.…

1/4 Screenshot of table in paper showing average EU tariffs by product type The problem with that approach? While *average* EU tariffs are low, many aren't, which means there will be impacts for some UK exporters.

This @commonslibrary briefing paper shows how much EU tariffs vary from sector to sector, still averages…

2/4 Repeat screenshot of average EU tariffs by product type
Aug 5, 2018 17 tweets 7 min read
This thread looks at Professor David Collins @davidcollinslaw's article claiming the UK will be fine with no deal with the EU next March. I’m going to stick to the facts, particularly about the WTO and what WTO agreements do and do not say.


In short, Prof Collins doesn’t understand the WTO’s SPS, TBT and Trade Facilitation Agreements, and the UK’s WTO schedules of commitments.

1st Paragraph👇🏽: no comment, it’s polemical:

2/17 These are all screenshots of individual paragraphs in the Spectator article
Aug 4, 2018 6 tweets 3 min read
No matter how often people correct @davidcollinslaw, he still persists in an incorrect interpretation of the WTO SPS and TBT agreements in this @spectator

This time, allow me to pull rank. I worked in the WTO for over 18 years including on SPS and TBT.

CC: @TiggerTherese

1/4 So take it from someone who worked on SPS in the WTO for over 18 years, that this is absolutely wrong.

I fail to understand why a professor of international economic law gets it so wrong

Aug 2, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
This analysis by sociologist Michael Burrage misses one major point (and several others).

First, being outside the EU and growing, is incomparable with being integrated, breaking away, and facing lots of new tariff and non-tariff barriers. It's no-shock versus shock.

1/4 Imagine California breaking away from the US, trading with it via normal US WTO tariffs and non-tariff barriers. It would look across the Pacific for its trading relations, and lose all US free trade agreements including NAFTA. Would there really be no adjustment, no shock?

Jul 30, 2018 8 tweets 3 min read
This is an informative thread by the excellent @bbaschuk

However I understand the procedural issue (rectifiction versus GATT Art.28 negotiations) to be slightly different

1/7 The UK&EU proposals are different but linked.

The EU is only changing tariff quotas, hence “modification” under GATT Art.28

The UK proposes the full range of tariffs as well as tariff quotas. The tariffs are copied and pasted from the EU's hence technical “rectification”

Jul 24, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
Brilliant! @bbaschuk has all the details of the papers the UK and EU circulated today, including links to the papers themselves, background, the prospects of legal disputes down the road, the lot A couple of points to add.

First rectification (UK) v. modification (EU). The EU is only modifying its tariff quotas. Its normal tariffs are unchanged, hence GATT Art.28, which requires negotiation.

The UK is copying and pasting the EU's normal tariffs => rectification works
Jul 24, 2018 5 tweets 3 min read
Thanks to Brexit, by now we all know what tariff quotas are, don't we?

Two good reports out today. First @DavidHenigUK for @ECIPE looks at internal UK processes as well as international reactions.

(Quibble, the WTO certifies, consensus = no one objects)… Screenshot of linked page paragraph on UK struggling Second @Max_AgraEurope on responses, particularly from countries and organisations with interests in beef, to the EU Commission's invitation for comment on its proposed tariff quotas

(paywalled but free trial available) ……
Jul 24, 2018 4 tweets 3 min read
.@davidcollinslaw is a professor of international economic law and yet he's wrong on a number of points.

He makes the elimintary mistake of claiming the UK is re-joining the WTO. The UK is doing nothing of the kind. The UK is and will continue to be a WTO member.

1/4 The issue with leaving the EU without a deal on Brexit day is not just whether the EU recognises UK standards, but whether it can justify waiving controls on imports from the UK when it does control imports from other non-EU countries.…

Jul 23, 2018 14 tweets 6 min read
@juniordrblog OK, I'll give it a try.

Countries charge import duties (or tariffs) on goods that enter the country. For example the EU charges 8% per pair on some types of shoes.

(So does the UK, because all EU members have the same tariffs)

@juniordrblog Sorry computer glitch. The next tweet was meant to say that originally there were no disciplines on tariffs. Countries could set them at any rate, and raise or lower them at will

Jul 20, 2018 25 tweets 11 min read
Very geekish thread related to UK becoming an independent WTO member

Now published: reactions to the proposal for splitting EU28 WTO tariff-rate quotas (TRQs = limited quantities of imports allowed duty-free or lower than normal duty).

1/24 The EU (&UK) propose taking the quotas for EU28 imports, splitting them into UK and EU27 portions according to how much ended up in each, on average in 2013–15.

The result for the EU27 is here:…

The figures for the UK would be EU28 minus EU27.
Jul 13, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Isner in a marathon fifth set? Nadal and Djokovic might have to wait a while… 20 games on. Still deadlocked
Jul 3, 2018 11 tweets 5 min read
@DavidHenigUK is right about this @BrexitCentral article (thread).

Adding some of my thoughts with a real example: ractopamine.

Thread: 1/9 This is about what happens “on Brexit day”. Assumes (1) no UE-UK alignment/recognition; (2) nothing has changed in the UK on that day.

Eventually the UK wants to be free to set its own standards, so there definitely would be checks in the future.

Jun 25, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
#ESP 0 #MAR 1 is a much more fun. You'd think it mattered to Morocco 1-1 and another #MAR miss. Better and better
Jun 9, 2018 11 tweets 4 min read
Surprised to hear Nigel Farage repeat the fallacy unchallenged on @BBCr4today this morning about having to be prepared to walk away.

To repeat: Fine, if walking away leaves status quo. Walking away from Brexit talks means cliff edge and furthest distance from status quo My original tweet (top of this thread) has been liked & retweeted 100s of times. Sadly judging by the comments, most missed the point.

Most people used it to attack @BBCr4Today. Here’s a thread about the point of the tweet & why the attacks on the programme were unjustified.
Feb 20, 2018 12 tweets 5 min read
Someone asked me to comment on the mentions of the WTO in the MPs’ letter, so here goes

First a question. R in ERG = “research”, right?

1/11 Can the UK create its “tariff schedules” of WTO commitments without the EU? For the most part probably yes, and the EU wouldn’t be interested (more on what that means below)

But, a big but …

2/11 Screenshot of 3 bullet points referring to the WTO. This is repeated through most of the thread
Feb 15, 2018 12 tweets 3 min read
I didn’t expect this blog post to attract so much attention. The range of reactions on Twitter has been quite revealing.

I hope this thread won't spoil it

1/12 Lots of people interpret it according to their feelings about Brexit.

Remainers see it as proof that Brexit won’t work or just isn’t worth it.

Brexiters can argue it shows how much can simply be copied and pasted with minor adjustment.