On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that Britain is seeking for ways to replicate the European Union’s trade deals with countries outside the bloc when it exits the European Union in next year.
The government highlighted that the freedom to look for new trade deals independently of the European Union is a benefit of Brexit. However, some businesses expressed concern regarding how existing trade relationships will work after Britain exits the EU.
Prime Minister May, speaking on a business trip to Japan, meant to reassure investors that the economy of Britain will prosper after Brexit, implied that the primary step in transforming Britain as one of the world’s leaders in free trade would be to replicate trade agreements of the EU.
“There’s obviously a number of trade deals that the EU has with other countries, and we are looking at the possibility of those being able to be brought over into, certainly initially, trade deals with the United Kingdom,” PM May informed reporters while on her way to Japan for meetings with Shinzo Abe, the country’s Prime Minister.
“I think we will give businesses certainty, which is what business wants at the point at which we leave.”
After her arrival in Japan, PM May also announced that Britain would later be capable of changing the terms of deals regarding trade.
“Once we’re outside the European Union, even if we start on the basis of an existing trade deal that a country has with the EU, it will be up to the United Kingdom and that country if we wish to renegotiate and change those terms in the future.”
The EU is finalising its own deal with Japan.It also has trade deals with countries including South Korea and Switzerland.
Until the EU membership of Britain ends, it is not able to agree with trade deals with other countries outside the bloc, and how quickly or easily an already-stretched British civil service could shift EU deals into bilateral trade agreements.
The view on trade is consistent with Prime Minister May’s bargaining stance on various central issues of Brexit talk in Brussels: to closely replicate several of the existing arrangements that Britain has as a state of the EU and then introduce change gradually.
The certain issue has drawn criticism from several eurosceptics who want to make a clean break with the European Union, and officials from the EU who say that Britain is looking to maintain the benefits of membership without incurring the associated costs.
On Wednesday, while on a two-hour train ride between Kyoto and Tokyo, the two leaders talked about Brexit, with May informing Abe regarding the details of a series of papers published in recent weeks setting out her negotiating position.
May also informed Abe that Britain was aiming for the completion of an EU-Japan trade deal, which could be utilised as a model for a British-Japanese trading agreement in the future.
May also told Abe that Britain was pushing for the completion of an EU-Japan trade deal, which could then be used as a model for a future British-Japanese trading agreement.