Brexit Update: EU Agrees on Future Trade Strategy
Friday March 23rd, 2018
There have been updates on what trade negotiations between the UK and the rest of the world will look like post Brexit.
Today, Prime Minister Theresa May has called for a “new dynamic” during the next stage of negotiations. She is optimistic that a deal can be reached which will benefit both Britain and Europe.
EU negotiators have already accepted the UK’s demand to pursue an independent trade policy while remaining inside the customs union and single market during the transition period from 30 March 2019 to the end of 2020.
Find out more below.
Independent Trade Policy
At the start of the year, the Secretary of State for International Trade said that the UK Government wants to maintain British businesses’ “guaranteed rights to access global public procurement markets worth approximately £1.3 trillion per year”.
On 15 March, it was announced that the latest draft of the transition deal leaves Britain free to sign trade deals during the Brexit transition period. The Government will not be required to seek permission from the European Union.
It appears that both sides of the Brexit divorce are now closer to agreeing on a transition package deal with Germany’s Brexit co-ordinator, Peter Ptassek, stating that negotiations were running smoothly, with a “lot of progress” being made.
World Trade Organisation
As well as the UK being able to sign trade deals during the transition period, the EU has also agreed that the UK does not need to defer to Brussels at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva. Instead, the UK can participate “in its own right”, however,, it must not contradict EU policies. This is crucial to the realisation of International Trade Secretary Liam Fox’s ambition for the UK to sign trade deals with up to 70 countries during the transition period.
Irish Border Negations
Both Westminster and the 27 EU Member States (EU27) want to find a solution that will keep Northern Ireland’s border with the Republic open without border checkpoints as it is at present. This is challenging, given that, post Brexit, the Irish border will be the land boundary between the UK and the EU.
The EU27 made it clear that reaching a deal on the Irish border was crucial to all future agreements with the UK including the vision of the “wide-ranging and ambitious” free trade deal envisaged in the seven-page blueprint for a future deal between the EU and UK endorsed by EU27 leaders at today’s summit in Brussels.
It was expected that the EU27 would approve a draft deal on Britain’s transition to Brexit, opening the door for talks on trade. This morning, President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, announced a Brexit deal was done.
Theresa May told the EU27 leaders: “We have the chance now to create a new dynamic in the talks, to work together to explore workable solutions on Northern Ireland, on our future security co-operation and in order to ensure the future prosperity of all our people.”
Keep following the BiP Solutions blog for news, analysis and commentary on public procurement and Brexit.
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