St. Valentines' Love? UK "Frictionless trade with EU will come to an end" - EU: "We are all set"

Highlights of THAT historic speech today by Michael Gove yesterday.

But before, please never forget the famous words of then Int. Trade Secretary Fox, who famously said a post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU should be the “easiest in human history”.

Here is the reality three years on (I am sorry we told you so):

  • “The UK will be outside the single market and outside the customs union, so we will have to be ready for the customs procedures and regulatory checks that will inevitably follow”.

  • “You have to accept we will need some friction. We will minimise it but it is an inevitability of our departure”

  • Trading with the EU should be “as smooth and trouble-free as possible” but that “we also need to ensure that people are ready for the regulatory checks that will follow”.

  • “It is the case there will be [sanitary and phytosanitary] checks” for those trading food or goods of animal origin.

  • “It is likely as is the case with [the Canadian trade deal] that there will be some physical checks of those products as well and it will be the case that we will almost certainly need safety and security certificates as well,”

  • “It will be the case almost everybody who is exporting will need to complete customs declarations.”

And the reply of Ursula von der Leyen on the UK's vision of Global Britain in the European Parliament in Strassbourg yesterday. The gloves are coming off:

UvdL on Future EU-UK relationship

11/02/2020 President von der Leyen gave a speech in the Plenary of the European Parliament at the debate on the Commission's proposal for a mandate for the negotiation of a new partnership with the UK. Key excerpts:

  • What’s on offer: “When we agreed the Political Declaration with the United Kingdom, we ambitioned zero tariffs and a zero quotas trade relation for all goods. Something we have never ever before offered to anybody else”.

  • On the need of a level -laying field: “A new model of trade, a unique ambition in terms of access to the Single Market. But of course, this would require corresponding guarantees on fair competition and the protection of social, environmental and consumer standards. In short: This is plain and simply the level playing field”.

  • The FTA with Canada: “Eliminates tariffs on a wide set of goods, but not on all. And of course, our deal with Canada eliminates most quotas, but certainly not all. For instance, there are still quotas on beef and sweetcorn. And of course: We still have our standards that have to be respected”.

  • On the FTA with Australia: “European Union does not have a trade agreement with Australia. We are currently trading on WTO terms. And if this is the British choice, we are fine with that – without any question”.

  • On EU readiness: “I just wanted to inform you that the Task Force is ready to start the negotiations. We are all set”.

More information

The EU's negotiating mandate with the UK (free to read):

Transition period: What customs & global trade rules apply from 1 February 2020 (free to read):

Post-Brexit UK-EU relations and "Global Britain" (Premium Blog):

UK-EU Free Trade Agreement: What is a level playing field? (Premium Blog):

What trade deals has the UK done so far? (Premium Blog):

Trading under WTO rules (Premium Blog)

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