Boris Johnson and Brussels set out competing visions for post-Brexit trade

Boris Johnson and Brussels set out competing visions for post-Brexit trade

The prime minister said that he would pursue a Canada-style free trade agreement with the European Union and if one is not agreed is prepared to trade with the bloc on World Trade Organization rules instead, saying that with or without a deal, "I have no doubt Britain will prosper".

Boris Johnson nudged the United Kingdom towards a hard Brexit on Monday (3 February), insisting that the UK would not commit to maintaining European Union standards on state aid and labour standards in order to strike a new trade deal with Brussels.

The government will enter a fresh round of talks with the European Union negotiating its future relationship with the bloc.

"This discussion will be pretty balanced because, while it is true that we need access to British waters, the British need access to the European market", French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview Sunday.

Britain only left the European Union Friday, but battle lines are already being drawn over what their future relationship will look like.

Under an EU-Canada agreement, import tariffs on many goods are eliminated but they still face customs and Value-Added Tax checks.

Barnier underscored the difficulties of the trade negotiations with Britain when he highlighted the small but emblematic fisheries industry, which was a key issue in the U.K.'s protracted Brexit divorce deal.

Will Boris Johnson cave into the EU's demands during the upcoming negotiations with the bloc?

Mr Braithwaite's statement to the WTO today represented a major moment for Brexiteers who have long called for the United Kingdom to take back control of the entirety of its trade policy.

Worries over trade negotiations sent the pound sinking more than 1.1 percent against the dollar in London midday deals on Monday.

Those include a zero tariff zero quota free trade arrangement, preservation of the EU's Single Market and its "four freedoms", respect for the UK's ability to pursue an independent trade policy, and some ambiguous (see below) wording about ensuring fair competition.

"The choice is emphatically not 'deal or no-deal, '" Johnson said. The EU-Canada deal that the British government cited as a model took seven years to negotiate.

Mr. Johnson's speech to diplomats, business leaders and others in the baroque surroundings of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, south London, was predictably more colorful and political than Mr. Barnier's technocratic news conference in Brussels.

Michel Barnier, unveiling the European Commission's mandate for talks with Britain on their future relationship, said there should be a level playing field over the long term on social, state aid and environmental standards.

We think more GBP weakness is in the cards this year, as we expect investors will become increasingly impatient with the lack of progress. Brussels' chief negotiator Michel Barnier said all aspects of the envisaged agreement would not be completed within 11 months.

If the British request is "for access to 450 million consumers, zero tariffs. zero quotas, that won't happen for nothing and without conditions", Mr. Barnier told reporters in Brussels.

"Humanity needs some government somewhere that is willing at least to make the case powerfully for freedom of exchange, some country ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles and leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing as the supercharged champion of the right of populations of the earth to buy and sell freely among each other", Mr Johnson said.

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