Johnson to use UK law to demand EU trade deal by 2020 end

17 Dec '19
2 min read
Boris Johnson. Pic: Shutterstock
Boris Johnson. Pic: Shutterstock

The prospect of a Brexit cliff-edge at the end of 2020 will be used by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to push for the European Union (EU) to offer him a comprehensive free trade deal encompassing everything in less than 11 months. He will reportedly use his control of parliament to outlaw any extension of the Brexit transition period beyond 2020.

The prime minister will cut the amount of time he has to strike a trade deal to 10-11 months from nearly three years by enshrining in law his campaign promise not to extend the transition period beyond 2020 end, a global news wire reported.

A comprehensive free trade deal would cover everything from financial services and rules of origin to tariffs and state aid rules, though the scope and sequencing of any future deal is still open for discussion.

After the United Kingdom leaves the EU on January 31, it enters a transition period in which it continues to be a namesake EU member, while both sides try to hammer out a deal on their post-Brexit relationship.

Johnson is being perceive to be sending a message to the EU, whose leaders have cautioned London that more time would be needed for a comprehensive trade deal.

If the United Kingdom and the EU fail to strike a deal on their future relationship and the transition period does not get extended, then trade between the two sides would be on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms, which is more burdensome for businesses.

The EU, which has insisted it will not seal a trade deal with a large, economically powerful neighbour without solid provisions to guarantee fair competition, hopes to start trade talks with the United Kingdom by March, leaving just 10 months to strike a deal and get it approved by London and the EU, including member states’ parliaments.

The EU’s demands will focus on environmental and labour standards, as well as state aid rules to ensure the United Kingdom would not be able to offer products on the bloc’s single market at unfairly low prices.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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