Express | 10 August 2020
Brexit trade deal rush risk lowering UK standards - warning sent to Boris Johnson
By Brian McGleenon
The institute declared today this would have a devastating long term impact on the UK, especially in the agriculture industry. The Institute for Government warned to cooperate with a trade deal with the US would require a swathe of relaxations on strict regulations the UK has fought hard to maintain. Energy efficiency requirements would be relaxed on many electronic products.
There would also be a cancellation on the prohibition on using geographical names such as “parmesan” for products not actually made in those regions.
The institute declared it wanted to see more detail on what the Government’s red lines were on compromising the UK’s standards.
In free trade agreements, regulatory standards are usually first to be jettisoned in favour of making a financially lucrative deal.
The Government has been warned to slow down and be more selective about which trade deals to green light, for fear of abandoning standards that in the long term make British brands trusted and thus more competitive.
Although Boris Johnson has declared he will make lucrative trade deals world-wide, there are worries about within cabinet about the dilution of standards to see these deals manifest.
Maddy Thimont Jack from the Institute for Government said: “Three years ago, we warned that the Ggovernment had not set up the necessary structures for effective decision making on key trade policy issues."
Speaking to The Independent he added: "The Government did not heed that warning then.
"It now needs to move urgently to put them in place.
"Otherwise it will find itself losing control of trade and regulatory policy to better-prepared partners.”
Deal negotiations with the US and Japan have recently hit stumbling blocks.
Despite the slow progress in agriculture, last week Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said there were "substantial" agreements in areas such as financial and digital services.
The UK is eager to secure a trade deal with Japan.
A Japan-UK trade could see the UK’s trade with the country increase to £15bn per year.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said both countries had made progress since beginning negotiations in June.
Ms Truss said: "We have reached consensus on the major elements of a deal - including ambitious provisions in areas like digital, data and financial services that go significantly beyond the EU-Japan deal."
Speaking to the BBC she added: "Our shared aim is to reach a formal agreement in principle by the end of August."
There is stalemate amid the current UK-EU post-Brexit trade talks in London.
At the latest negotiations, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier declared swift resolution of a trade deal was "at this point unlikely".