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UPDATE 1-EU and Britain to present post-Brexit plan on WTO membership

(Adds context and quotes)

By Tom Miles

GENEVA, July 17 (Reuters) - The European Union and Britain
plan to put forward a joint proposal for reform of the terms of
their World Trade Organization (WTO) membership in September or
October, an EU source said on Monday, as London negotiates to
leave the EU.

The two sides are also discussing sharing liabilities from
trade disputes including WTO litigation over Airbus
subsidies in a long-running case with the United States, the EU
source said.

“Currently we are in talks with the United Kingdom to come
to a joint approach on the matter, on all the aspects of the
divorce, with regard to the WTO. And I would think that, come
the month of September/October, we will be able to come jointly
to the rest of the (WTO) membership,” the EU source said,
speaking on condition of anonymity.

The joint approach would address aspects of the EU's WTO
membership terms, known as its WTO "schedules", that are not
easily split between Britain and the other 27 EU members:
agricultural tariff quotas, agricultural subsidies and
commitments on services trade.

“The plan is (that) we would explain together how we would
see the disentanglement of the United Kingdom from the EU
commitments and schedules,” the source said.

The joint approach would also deal with Britain's wish to
join the WTO's Government Procurement Agreement, which
liberalises access to procurement markets between signatories.
The EU is a member of the agreement but Britain is not.

Asked how important it was to finalise revision of the WTO
terms of membership before the EU and Britain formally divorce,
the source said: “I have the impression that the United Kingdom
believes that is important.”

Britain's Brexit minister, David Davis, pledged to "get down
to work" as he kicked off a first full round of negotiations in
Brussels on Monday but, a year after Britons voted to leave the
EU, their government seemed at war with itself over the divorce
terms.

Britain also faces a multi-billion euro bill as it leaves
the EU, to cover ongoing commitments.

One of those costs may be a provision to cover damages that
could be awarded to the United States in the world's largest
trade dispute, the 13-year-old battle over allegedly illegal
subsidies to plane giants Airbus and Seattle-based Boeing
.

"I think that is also part of the discussion," the EU source
said, without giving any details. "I'm not sure that will be
clarified already. I think we're now working first and foremost
on schedules."
(Reporting by Tom Miles; writing by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing
by Kevin Liffey)

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