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London (UNN): Theresa May has said her Cabinet has agreed a ‘collective position’ on Britain’s future with the EU after Brexit. Ministers thrashed out proposals to create a new UK-European Union free trade area for goods at an ambitious all-day summit at Chequers. The proposals will likely deal a blow to hardline Brexiters as the UK agrees to remain in line with the EU on rules for industrial and agricultural goods, based on a ‘common rule book’.
Ministers also stepped up preparations for a ‘no deal’ on Brexit as Brussels will be reluctant to consider any plan which would risk splitting the single market. But May said she hoped the proposals would enable talks with the EU to move forward. Going into Chequers the Cabinet was split, with Brexit Secretary David Davis understood to have major reservations about both the plan and whether Brussels would even consider it seriously. But it is understood that all members of the Cabinet have signed up to the proposals.
The ‘common rulebook’ for goods could reduce the UK’s flexibility to strike trade deals with other countries, particularly the US which would want an agreement allowing its farm products, produced to different standards, into the British market. It would also involve the UK paying ‘due regard’ to European Court of Justice ruling relating to the rules Britain will share with Brussels. Mrs. May said the ‘common rule book’ for goods in a UK-EU free trade area will ‘maintain high standards’. She said: ‘As a result, we avoid friction in terms of trade, which protects jobs and livelihoods, as well as meeting our commitments in Northern Ireland.
‘We have also agreed a new business-friendly customs model with freedom to strike new trade deals around the world. ‘ The main details of the Chequers White Paper include: – The UK committing to ‘ongoing harmonization’ with EU rules on goods to ensure frictionless trade at ports and the border with Ireland – A ‘joint institutional framework’ would provide for the consistent interpretation and application of UK-EU agreements, with British courts ruling on cases in Britain and EU courts in the EU but a joint committee and independent arbitration settling disputes – A new ‘facilitated customs arrangement’ would remove the need for checks and controls by treating the UK and EU as if they were a ‘combined customs territory’ – The UK would effectively impose EU tariffs at the border for goods intended for the bloc but would ‘control its own tariffs for trade with the rest of the world’ – Free movement of people will end, but a ‘mobility framework’ will ensure UK and EU citizens can continue to travel to each other’s territories and apply to study or work
UNN News Agency. All Right Resered. 2018.