In Brief

UK to prioritise sovereignty over frictionless trade

Boris Johnson to tell EU he will accept additional checks and red tape in return for sovereignty

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British businesses will face extra paperwork and checks on goods crossing in and out of the UK under Boris Johnson’s proposals for post-Brexit trade with the EU.

The Daily Mail says the prime minister is set to deliver a “tough message” to Brussels when he sets out his plans for future trade arrangements with the EU next week, warning that he will put the UK's sovereignty above the desire to avoid tariffs and quotas.

For years, prospective deals with the EU were premised on the desire to maintain “frictionless trade”, but the Conservatives 2019 manifesto said there would be no political alignment with the EU and that the UK would leave the single market and customs union, “thus ending the likelihood of a friction-free border”, says The Guardian.

Earlier this week LBC reported that Brussels “will attempt to gain the upper hand before trade talks start late next month by insisting European judges continue to have a say on Britain after Brexit”.

According to leaked document, the EU is set to demand European Court of Justice judges would be able to make rulings on trade, fishing and security.

The Financial Times says “France and other European capitals are pushing for the UK to stay in sync with EU rules in areas such as environmental and labour market policy, state aid and tax, arguing that future alignment is essential to protect European companies from unfair competition”. 

“A particular concern for Brussels is how to uphold the ‘level playing field’ of common rules that the EU insists the UK must adhere to in exchange for a duty-free, quota-free trade deal,” the paper adds.

However, any attempt to keep the UK in alignment with EU rules has been widely condemned by Brexiteers and looks likely to be rebuffed by the prime minister next week.

Politics Home says cabinet ministers have already signaled that the UK will look to diverge from many EU standards as it seeks a Canada-style free trade deal with the bloc.

That has prompted warnings from EU leaders that Britain must be prepared to lose market access. Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this week “provided a glimpse of the post-Brexit wrangling in store for Boris Johnson as he drew an explicit link between the issues of fishing and financial services in the imminent talks over a trade deal”, reports iNews.

Yet despite arguments that the EU represents a declining proportion of the UK’s trade, the public still see the EU as the priority partner in future trade deals, according to a survey conducted by The Conversation.

The findings show that while Remain voters overwhelmingly prioritise a deal with the EU, Leave voters are much more interested in a US trade deal.

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