A number of countries say Brexit could leave them with a smaller opportunity to export agricultural goods into Europe and Britain and are seeking compensation.
Countries including Australia have asked for trade compensation from the United Kingdom and the European Union over the Brexit disruption.
Australia was backed by other countries including New Zealand, the United States, and Canada when it raised the issue at a World Trade Organization meeting on Thursday.
It concerns losses in what is a $366 million annual agricultural export trade with the EU and Britain. Australia said its beef and lamb exports had already been adversely affected by Brexit confusion.
In a statement reported by the Australian Financial Review, an Australian official told the WTO: “Compensatory concessions should be provided to affected WTO members for loss of market access.
“Australia cannot accept the assertion by both the EU and UK that no compensation is required.”
The EU limits the volume of agricultural imports from the rest of the world that can come into the trading bloc without full tariffs being applied. A certain amount can come from outside the EU, subject to a finite number of “tariff rate quotas”, or TRQs.
“It is clear the proposed modification to TRQs will lead to significant economic loss, by not only removing flexibility in where product is sent year to year, but also by rendering some TRQ allocations too small to be commercially viable,” the statement said. “The onus is now on both members (the UK and EU) to move beyond their position of ‘no compensation’.”
The US called the EU and British proposals “unjustifiable” and New Zealand said it undermined the general principle that no change to existing WTO arrangements should leave WTO members worse off .
In a statement, the UK’s Department for International Trade said: “We have set out our goods schedule at the WTO to maintain the existing balance of rights and obligations between the UK and our trading partners.
“The UK has entered into negotiations with affected countries under the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) Article XXVIII process to maintain the current balance of rights and obligations.”
This comes as the EU announced plans to grant the derivatives trading industry an extra year to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. The Financial Times reported that Brussels intends to prolong access to UK market infrastructure in a no-deal situation.
Most euro-dominated derivatives are handled in London, and the extension is therefore important for the financial sector given Britain’s dominance of the global clearing market.
The European Commission said that contingency plans for accessing UK-based clearing houses would be extended beyond the current March 2020 end date as EU financial services would not have alternatives in place in time.
Meanwhile, the amount of British civil servants who say they are experiencing work-related stress and anxiety over Brexit has increased by 45 percent in the past year, according to official data.
The Guardian reported this was the highest rate recorded for any industry since the Health and Safety Executive began collecting these statistics 20 years ago, and around 77 percent higher than the all-industry average.
Unions blamed the figures on increasing workloads, years of pay restraint and the added pressures created by Brexit and political gridlock.