Brexit: UK publishes more EU negotiation plans

Theresa May

Theresa May

:: The UK government on Monday set out proposals to ensure that the country’s firms producing goods to European standard before Brexit be allowed to sell them in the EU at no extra cost, even after Britain has quit the bloc.

A position paper calls for consumer protections to remain in place. The demand published on Monday would help British firms avoid millions of pounds in extra potential compliance costs, but directly contradicts the EU’s current position, the Independent reported.

Reports said that the Brexit department aims to keep pressure on the EU ahead of the third round of talks in Brussels next week. The demand also comes after an EU leader warned that slow progress in negotiations means the UK will not be able to begin discussions on a lucrative new trade deal in October, as planned by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Proposals set out in the government’s latest positioning paper relating to “the availability of goods” flesh out those already laid down in a broader paper relating to the EU customs union last week.

The new document said it should be an objective that “goods placed on the single market before exit should continue to circulate freely in the UK and the EU, without additional requirements or restrictions”.

The paper states that where firms have already undertaken compliance activities prior to exit, they should not be required to duplicate them to place goods on the UK and the EU market after exit.

Brexit Secretary David Davis said: “These papers will help give businesses and consumers certainty and confidence in the UK’s status as an economic powerhouse after we have left the EU.”

However, there is a significant gap between the plan and the EU’s current position, which is that products approved to Brussels standards by UK regulators before Brexit may not be legal for sale after Britain leaves without further certification.

A second paper calling for a reciprocal agreement to ensure continued confidentiality for official documents shared by Britain with its EU partners while it was a member state was also published.

Further papers are due in the coming days, including one on the crucial issue of the European Court of Justice — a sticking point in talks, BBC reported.

Brussels is refusing to discuss future arrangements, such as trade, until citizens’ rights, the UK’s “divorce bill” and the Northern Ireland border have been settled, the report said.

EU leaders reiterated their stance last week as the UK published proposals about new customs arrangements.

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