Theresa May government publishes white paper on Brexit

Marco Green
July 12, 2018

New Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has insisted that the much-anticipated Government white paper respects the referendum result while backing business.

So here are the key excerpts from the chapter on "economic partnership" and what they mean.

If the United Kingdom parliament chose not to sign up to any of those rules, the idea of frictionless trade would begin to fall apart.

Britain set out in detail Thursday its proposals for the future economic and security relationship with the European Union after Brexit.

Two groups - the City of London Corporation, and The City UK - have expressed their displeasure at new plans from May's government, which will seek a system of regulatory equivalence, rather than the previously mooted mutual recognition arrangement.

Britain is now part of the EU's single market - which allows for the frictionless flow of goods and services among the 28 member states - and its tariff-free customs union for goods.

But it also says that because of the deep cross-Channel links, "equivalence" is not good enough either.

But it's also worth noting that the White Paper says the Facilitated Customs Arrangement (FCA) would have to be phased in - which is code for saying that it wouldn't be ready by the end of the proposed transition period in December 2020.

Britain wants a new treaty allowing it to continue using EU internal security measures such as the European Arrest Warrant and to participate in agencies such as Europol.

The plan would "enable products to only undergo one set of approvals and authorisations in either market, before being sold in both".

Britain does not have long to argue its case - both sides are aiming for a deal by October, to allow time for its ratification by the British and European parliaments.

"I have North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, I have the UK, which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin", Trump said, listing his European itinerary when he departed the United States on Tuesday.

"With looser trade ties to Europe, the financial and related professional services sector will be less able to create jobs, generate tax and support growth across the wider economy".

Therefore, it calls for a hybrid arrangement that would adopt equivalence but also recognise "extensive supervisory cooperation and regulatory dialogue" between Britain's financial watchdogs and their European Union counterparts. That would avoid disruption to automakers and other manufacturers who source parts from multiple countries.

This, however, is not the City of London's favoured approach to post-Brexit financial services regulation.

The trouble with a lot of these proposals though is that the European Union will see them as cherry-picking from the four freedoms that underpin the single market.

Trade association UK Finance said that simply relying on existing equivalence arrangements would not provide financial institutions with effective market access, but it said the government was right to seek to strengthen and expand equivalence rules.

The White Paper emphasises repeatedly that free movement of people will come to an end.

The plans laid out in a 98-page government paper give Britain's most detailed answer yet to the question of what will replace it.

But there are hints in this document of what could be to come - it sets out proposals for a mobility framework, which is pretty standard in trade agreements.

The new arrangements will seek to help businesses get the right staff, allow citizens to travel visa-free for tourism or temporary business trips, and help students study overseas.

But some Brexiteers fear that what will eventually emerge will be free movement under another name, and they are already suspicious that this is just an opening bid from the government.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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