WTO chief warns that Britain will have to renegotiate its membership terms after Brexit

United Kingdom: Britain would face gruelling negotiations to set the terms of its World Trade Organization membership if it decided to leave the European Union, the group's chief warned in Thursday's Financial Times.

File image of Roberto Azevedo. Reuters

File image of Roberto Azevedo. Reuters

WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo doubted claims made by supporters of a so-called Brexit that Britain would be able to access the European market through the WTO if it were unable to secure favourable alternative deals on leaving the EU.

"Pretty much all of the UK's (global) trade would somehow have to be negotiated," he told the business newspaper, adding Britain would not be allowed to "cut and paste" a new deal.

The warning follows similar interventions by the British Treasury, the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund and US President Barack Obama, who have all raised the spectre of negative economic consequences of a Brexit.

Polls currently show the "Remain" camp in the lead ahead of the 23 June in-out referendum.

Britain's current WTO membership is under the agency of the EU.

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Updated Date: May 26, 2016 08:34:42 IST

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