Wednesday, 8 Apr 2020

Britain Unleashed: Boris Johnson prepares to reject EU rules in these two key areas

Number 10 is understood to have rejected stipulations in the negotiation mandate submitted to EU leaders by the European Commission. Mr Johnson’s advisor David Frost has had talks with official to finalise the UK negotiating position. According to the Sunday Telegraph Brussels insist the UK must agree to a “level playing field” in order to guarantee Britain will not become a low tax jurisdiction in the style of Singapore.

The paper reports Mr Johnson’s team want a deal similar to deals with Canada, South Korea and Japan, which they view as having less stringent requirements.

Mr Frost will give a lecture in Brussels on the post transition period relationship the UK is seeking.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has also hit out a US move to increase tariffs on aircraft parts imported from Europe and the UK.

Ms Truss said: “The tariffs on aircraft parts announced by the US today are in no one’s interest and harmful to both the UK and US.

“I have spoken to my US counterparts, calling on them to engage and reach a negotiated settlement.”

This comes after Mr Johnson allowed Chinese firm Huawei to have some involvement in the Britain’s 5G network, which is said to have angered Washington and has led some to fear over the potential success of any US-UK trade talks.

As for the negotiations with the EU, senior Tories have described the demands from the bloc for commitments on regulations as “ridiculous”.

The draft mandate said: “These commitments should prevent distortions of trade and unfair competitive advantages. To that end, the envisaged agreement should uphold the common high standards in the areas of state aid, competition, state-owned enterprises, social and employment standards, environmental standards, climate change, and relevant tax matters.

“In so doing, the agreement should rely on appropriate and relevant union and international standards.”

Ministers are expected to claim that the EU’s standards are lower than the UK’s on issues such as workers’ rights, environmental protection and health and safety.

Senior Tories have added Britain was a founding member of the Global Forum on Tax Transparency.

Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said last month: “We want trade to be as frictionless as possible but the EU is clear, you can only have fully frictionless trade if you accept all of their rules, if you accept all their laws, you are subordinate to their judges, you are subordinate to their political structures.

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“We voted to be independent. Now, we want to have as close as possible relationship with the EU and the approach that we want to take is built on the relationship that they have with Canada.

“That means that we want to have a relationship where there are ultimately no tariffs, no quotas on our trade but there will be some regulations that will differ in Britain, we will do things in a way which is better for our economy.”

A Tory source added: “The UK will take a proactive position in the future trade discussions.

“We have a strong mandate to get Brexit done, get a future trade deal and focus on sovereignty.

“This is in line with EU trade deals they have done before – and we expect the same to apply to us.”

Whilst the Department for Exiting the Union ceased to exit when Brexit took place on January 31 at 2300, all the ministers in the department found new role in the latest reshuffle.

Stephen Barclay, the final Brexit Secretary, is now Chief Secretary to the Treasury after Rishi Sunak was promoted to the chancellorship following Sajid Javid’s resignation.

Previous Brexit Minister Lord Callanan is now the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Under-Secretary.

Meanwhile, former Brexit Under-Secretary James Duddridge, has been given back his previous Foreign Office Under-Secretary role he left in 2016, in addition to a new brief as International Development Under-Secretary.

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