Friday, May 27

Boris Johnson admits Brexit deal falls short for financial services | Brexit

Boris Johnson has admitted that the Brexit trade deal “may not go as far as we would like” in terms of access to EU markets for financial services, while insisting that he had struck a deal that his critics said would be impossible.

In a interview with the Sunday TelegraphThe prime minister said he had defied the “sponge cake” accusations – seeking the impossible – by striking a trade deal that would allow diversion from EU standards.

Johnson said it had been announced as impossible “that free trade could be negotiated with the EU without being dragged into its regulatory or legislative orbit.”

While service industries – the bulk of UK exports to the EU – could face potential regulatory or non-tariff hurdles, Johnson said there was “access for lawyers, lawyers” and “good business for digital.”

But on financial services, he said the deal “may not go as far as we would like.”

There are provisions in the agreement for the possible imposition of tariffs if the UK deviates significantly from existing rules. Johnson said this should not be viewed by Brexit-minded Conservative MPs as too restrictive.

“All it is really saying is that the UK will not immediately send children down chimneys or dump raw sewage all over its beaches,” he said. “We’re not going to back down, and that’s to be expected.”

Johnson said it was “unlikely” that the UK would impose its own tariffs, adding that any taxes by the EU “would have to be provided and approved by the arbitrator”, and if that happened regularly, the UK would re-negotiate. with the World Trade Organization. terms.

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However, Johnson told the newspaper, the UK could and could set its own path in some areas, citing as an idea the notion of so-called free ports, low-tax trade zones that advocates say drive economic growth, but they have been accused of helping tax evasion. Free ports exist within the EU, although with some restrictions.

The prime minister said that more plans would emerge now that the trade deal is finalized: “A lot of effort has been put into the government to compile them and we have not necessarily wanted to talk much about them during this period because perhaps that would not have been fruitful.”

He added: “We want to see what we can get ahead. We do not want to diverge for divergence. But we are going to want to do things differently when that is useful to the British. “

Parliamentarians and colleagues will meet on December 30 to discuss and vote on the deal, before it expires on January 1 of the current Brexit transition period.

While the fact that the Labor Party has said it will vote for the deal ensures that it will pass easily, Johnson could still face the ire of his party’s heavily pro-Brexit wing, which is currently examining the details of the deal.

In the interview, Johnson tried to present the agreement as the final conclusion to Margaret Thatcher’s 1988 speech in Bruges, in which she criticized the idea of ​​a “European superstate”, calling Thatcher’s speech “prophetic.”

“It is the end of a long and troubled period, in which we keep trying to pretend to ourselves that we could accept all kinds of things that we really didn’t want to do to keep up with the big project in Europe. Union, ”he said of the trade deal.

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“I think this gives us a basis for a new friendship and partnership that should attract people who love Europe and want to have a great relationship with it, who want to feel close to it.

But it should also be something that is welcomed by people who see the benefits of economic and political independence. I believe that the country as a whole has been placed on a new and more stable footing. It’s a better relationship and a healthier relationship. “

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