As the deadline for Brexit negotiations draw nearer, Britain could have the backing of WTO members over a change in the rules that would allow the UK to introduce a “light touch” approach to EU goods entering the country in the event of no deal.
But WTO director general Roberto Azevedo said WTO rules are normally introduced after a transition period to get both sides ready for the new trading laws.
He believes there “is a pretty good chance” of the UK and EU striking a Brexit deal before the end of the transition period, despite either side being able to come to any agreement.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Azevedo said: “In these circumstances, the less disruption the better, the less turbulence the better.
“The less turbulence is the closest to what you were before.
Britons furious over potential Brexit transition extension
The UK officially left the EU back in January
“So in my view, if you can maintain the degree of integration and relationship that you had before Brexit it is a less dramatic situation, of course, than if you had to go to WTO terms – which it is not a catastrophe.”
On WTO terms, he added: “It only covers a number of adjustments and those adjustments can be painful particularly for some sectors.
“Overall, I think there is a pretty good chance that an agreement can be reached. Again, in my view the less changes the better.”
However, news that the UK will still have to negotiate with the EU even after we have left has been met with anger.
READ MORE: EU on brink: Bloc taking ‘audacious gamble’ with COVID-19 response
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier
Sarah Barnes said: “Oh bugger off, EU.
“It’s already written into law that we are leaving on the 31st December.
“All they want is our money. It’s time the UK left, with a deal or without a deal.”
Someone else argued any money given to the EU needs to be stopped “at the end of the year”.
Nigel Farage’s hidden objective in Brexit Party relaunch exposed [REVEAL]
BBC Brexit row erupts over why EU is desperate to stop no deal [INSIGHT]
Brexit no-deal boost: WTO chief says UK could be given rule advantage [OPINION]
Five steps that led to Brexit
John Dodds said: “Pull the other one. We are not in the mood to listen to excuses.
“Out means out and we have waited far too long.
“Get the job done and let’s move one.
“All monies to the EU should stop at the end of this year. If they don’t then prepare for real protests.”
UK Brexit negotiator David Frost
Another person pointed out the transition period is part of UK law and would “take an act of Parliament to change the law”.
Someone else slammed the EU for not adhering to the democratic process in the UK.
Rob Humphrey said: “God they just won’t let go.
“The democratic process in the UK is worth nothing in Brussels… unbelievable.”
Michael Gove backtracked on plans to introduce full border checks
Others called for Mr Johnson to ignore calls for extended transition periods with Andrew D McGarth saying: “Don’t do it Boris.
“We leave on the 31st December if you don’t your career is over.”
On Friday, Michael Gove backtracked on plans to introduce full border checks with the EU when the Brexit transition period ends and defied warnings that it would be “extraordinarily reckless” not to request an extension.
The Cabinet Office minister formally told the EU on Friday that the UK would not ask for a delay despite concerns the departure would compound the economic chaos inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson moves Brexit forward
However, in scrapping plans to immediately introduce full import controls on EU goods in the new year, Mr Gove said Britain would now phase in changes over six months so businesses hampered by COVID-19 can have the “time to adjust”.
The move came as the UK economy contracted by more than a fifth in the first full month of lockdown, as shops and factories closed and workers were sent home to slow the virus’s spread.