International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox has today claimed that a post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU should be the “easiest in human history”, as the second round of negotiations draws to a close in Brussels.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Fox said: “We are already beginning with zero tariffs, and we are already beginning at the point of maximal regulatory equivalence, as it is called. In other words, our rules and our laws are exactly the same.”
The Secretary of State also insisted that the UK could survive without a trade deal, but added: “We don’t want to have no deal. It is much better that we have a deal than no deal”. This is an opposing view to that which was wheeled out by Theresa May throughout her general election campaign.
Commenting on Fox’s statement, Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East of England and member of the International Trade Committee in the European Parliament, said: “These are some very far-fetched claims that will undoubtedly be proven wrong. Given the lack of clarity from the UK government on all Brexit fronts, agreeing on a complex trade deal that benefits both our country and the EU won’t be a doddle.
“The German industry has already warned Britain not to rely on its help in securing a good Brexit deal by being allowed substantial access to the EU’s markets. So it’s impossible to understand on what basis Mr Fox has come up with this statement which is, quite frankly, hyperbolic.”
Paul Brannen, Labour MEP for the North East, added: “This week marked the second round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels, which focussed on citizens’ rights, separation issues and the Irish border. Trade and how Britain could secure a good deal with the EU after Brexit have not yet been part of the agenda, so asserting to the public that negotiating a new trade deal with the continent after we leave will be incredibly easy is simply premature.
“However, I am pleased to see that the Tories have finally come to their senses and accepted that no deal is in fact the worst possible outcome we could get from our leaving the EU. “