A new Brexit compromise has been agreed by the Prime Minister and her Cabinet which will water down Brexit, maintain standards with the EU, create a UK – EU free trade area and still leave Britain open to strike trade deals around the world. A Brexit negotiation white paper will be published next week.
Whichever side of the Leave/Remain divide you are on, it’s hard to to view this as anything other than a compromise and the result of a weak government attempting to hold the process together. It’s certainly not the ‘Brexit means Brexit’ rhetoric the Prime Minister previously declared, but more a rubber stamping by the UK Parliament of whatever rules the EU may decide with an attempt at an adjudicator for when the UK and EU disagree.
The biggest issue with the entire proposal is whether the EU negotiators will even consider the suggested arrangements, let along approve them. What’s likely to happen is everything that Britain offers which ties the country to the EU will be hardened and everything that moves the UK away from the EU will be watered down. One of the biggest issues the EU will address is the exclusion of services from the proposal for harmonisation of EU rules as they won’t like a huge sector of the UK economy going it’s own way.
One of the important parts of the agreement is that a UK – EU free trade area would solve the issue of the Northern Ireland border. The difficulty with external trade deals for Britain will be how goods from elsewhere in the world following UK standards but not EU standards will be prevented from being exported from Britain to the EU.
What online retailers need to ask themselves is if any of this actually matters? The reality is that regardless of what UK rules are and if they’re tougher or more relaxed then those in the EU, when you manufacture a product or source it from a supplier, you’ll want goods to merchandise that comply with both UK and EU rules. There is little point having two version of the same product, one to be sold in the UK and a different version to be sold in the EU. It’s worth remembering that governments may set trade rules, but they don’t actually do any trade themselves. It’s not our Ministers that will decide how to trade but individual manufacturers and retailers who will take the course of least resistance and maximum opportunity for sales.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement on UK – EU free trade area proposal
- Today in detailed discussions the Cabinet has agreed our collective position for the future of our negotiations with the EU.
- Our proposal will create a UK – EU free trade area which establishes a common rule book for industrial goods and agricultural products. This maintains high standards in these areas, but we will also ensure that no new changes in the future take place without the approval of our Parliament.
- As a result, we avoid friction in terms of trade, which protects jobs and livelihoods, as well as meeting our commitments in Northern Ireland.
- We have also agreed a new business-friendly customs model with freedom to strike new trade deals around the world.
- Next week we will be publishing a white paper which will set out more details of how we will be taking back control of our money, laws and borders.
- Now we must all move at pace to negotiate our proposal with the EU to deliver the prosperous and secure future all our people deserve.
– Prime Minister Theresa May, 6th July