No no. But they need to be informed, and they have meetings to discuss, ask questions, hear answers and take a position on any new agreement. When someone says.” We want to use section 24 of the GATT, and it simply says, „We want a free trade agreement on goods.” It is a meaningless statement that says nothing about the content of the desired agreement. Therefore, if the UK and the EU reached an agreement that would be considered an interim agreement under Article XXIV of the GATT, it would follow the usual practice that the UK and the EU would declare it to the WTO as a comprehensive free trade agreement and not as an interim agreement. Such an agreement would be in effect until a future relationship is concluded. Article 24 does not say what would cover the deal, whether the EU would agree, how long it would take to reach an agreement and what will happen while Britain and the EU are negotiating when Brexit has already taken place with „no agreement”.” Jargon-Buster: Article 24 of the GATT deals with free trade agreements and customs unions. A free trade agreement can be anything from a simple agreement to the removal of import duties, to a complex document that covers standards, rules, dispute resolution, etc. The agreement between Japan and the EU covers 560 pages (and includes services, e-commerce, intellectual property, capital movements, etc.). A customs union is essentially a free trade agreement on goods, in which the participating countries all apply the same tariffs on imports from third countries.
Another problem is that most, if not all of the EU`s external free trade agreements, are so-called `mixed competence` agreements. This means that certain provisions of the free trade agreement do not fall within the scope of the EU`s external treaty powers and that, therefore, member states must be parties to the treaty and the EU itself. Trade law experts point out that a temporary agreement is possible as the UK negotiates any form of final trade agreement with the EU. In fact, Dr. Lorand Bartels of the University of Cambridge has developed a short, bare trade agreement to show that this is technically possible. The proposed withdrawal agreement would also be eligible. However, in the case of a temporary zero tariff non-compliance agreement between Britain and the EU, there does not seem to be a need to invoke the „intermediate agreements” provisions. There is unnecessary confusion because, in addition to the authorisation of trade unions and free trade zones, Article XXIV also authorizes „intermediate agreements” leading to a customs union or a free trade area. These „intermediate agreements” are required, under Article XXIV, paragraph 5, point c), to include „a plan and a timetable” with a timetable for the road to an Estva or a compliant customs union within a „reasonable time” normally of ten years. Like defence unions and free trade agreements, the WTO must be informed of an interim agreement, but the rules are stricter: members can request changes if they are not convinced that the interim agreement will actually lead to a full agreement within the proposed time frame. Article XXIV, paragraph 5, also allows for the adoption of an interim agreement necessary for the establishment of a customs union or free trade area.