The move will enable Jersey to avoid potentially high trade tariffs should a no-deal scenario become a reality.
The announcement was made by External Relations Minister Ian Gorst on Friday. He said that the move would put the Island on its ‘strongest possible footing’ for trade when Britain leaves the EU.
Senator Gorst added that he would soon be attending briefings with members of the fishing and agriculture industries, among others, to explain the formalities of the decision.
‘The UK Foreign Secretary has formally written to the World Trade Organisation, notifying them that the UK intends to extend the territorial scope of its WTO membership to Jersey and the other Crown Dependencies. The formal notification confirms that if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement then the extension will take effect immediately after 31 October,’ he said.
‘Securing WTO extension in time for Brexit ensures that Jersey companies will have access to global rules on the trade in goods, services and IP with other WTO members, including EU Member States and the majority of countries worldwide.
‘This represents the conclusion of a political and diplomatic process to achieve extension of the UK’s WTO membership that has been an objective of the Government of Jersey for over 20 years.’
He added: ‘I want to thank the officials from across government, and especially within the External Relations Department and the financial services and digital economy team, for their skill, diligence and tenacity in pursuing this objective. Their work has placed Jersey on the strongest possible footing as we explore global trading opportunities post-Brexit.’
Meanwhile, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, said that the move would provide continuity for the businesses and consumers of the Channel Islands.
‘This reaffirms the UK’s commitment to preserving and advancing the global trading system in the face of rising protectionism,’ she said.