Theresa May visited Japan this week in hopes of discussing future trade opportunities after Brexit, as Japan is preparing to conclude a much awaited trade deal with the European Union.
While there the Prime Minister stated that, for a limited period after Brexit, the UK could seek to copy and paste the current free trade arrangements it has with Member States through its membership of the EU.
Jude Kirton-Darling, MEP for the North East of England and member of the International Trade Committee in the European Parliament, commented: “The free trade policy implemented by the EU is incredibly valuable and beneficial to all Member States, and the Prime Minister’s decision to copy it is testament to that.
“In my role as member of the trade committee, I have dedicated a lot of time towards further developing the way we trade within the union and beyond. So whilst this is a positive step forward in the Brexit process, it could provide an incentive for overseas countries like Japan who already have trade agreements with the EU to give less to the UK in order to reflect the difference in bargaining power”.
Paul Brannen, Labour MEP for the North East of England, added: “We welcome Theresa May’s plan to replicate existing trade arrangements with EU countries during a transitional period post-Brexit. This gives us some reassurance that UK industry and our businesses won’t fall over a Brexit cliff edge.
“However, we must ask ourselves whether copying something that’s already in place and fully functional is the most productive use of the UK government’s time, when the more sensible alternative would be to retain our membership of the Single Market and Customs Union instead.”