Boris Johnson eyes Canada-style trade deal with the EU after Brexit, report claims
- The Prime Minister is allegedly prepared to accept an ‘off-the-shelf’ model
- It would mean the UK would enjoy almost tariff-free trade with EU countries
- However, such a deal would not include the services sector in the UK
- This could shrink the UK’s economy by almost five per cent over 15 years
Boris Johnson is preparing to call for a trade deal with the EU based on the bloc’s arrangements with Canada, according to a new report.
The Prime Minister is allegedly prepared to accept an ‘off-the-shelf’ model to make Brexit as smooth as possible, reports The Times.
It would mean the UK would enjoy almost tariff-free trade with EU countries.
However, such a deal would not include the services sector, a move which it is estimated would shrink the UK’s economy by almost five per cent over 15 years.
Boris Johnson will deliver a plea for the country to move on from Brexit on Friday night as the UK finally leaves the EU
A Canada-style off-the-shelf deal has previously been proposed by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier but was turned down by Theresa May’s team.
The PM met with Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, in Downing Street at the beginning of the month to express his openness to such a deal.
He said Britain would ready to start negotiations ‘as soon as possible’ after Jan 31, according to The Telegraph.
London unfurls the flags for Brexit as the Mall in London towards Buckingham Palace is transformed into a sea of patriotic Red White & Blue
It came hours after Ms von der Leyen warned it would be ‘basically impossible’ to negotiate as close a relationship by the end of the year.
She added that the two sides ‘will have to prioritise’ objectives. Barnier echoed these concerns, warning that it might not be possible to get a comprehensive deal by the end of the ‘standstill’ transition period in December, and urged the UK to accept ‘level playing field’ provisions.
Signed in October 2016, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), ranges from single markets to customs unions, to association agreements, to free trade agreements (FTAs) and beyond.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator pictured in Strasbourg on January 14, will lead talks for the EU
Meanwhile, Johnson will deliver a plea for the country to move on from Brexit on Friday night as the UK finally leaves the EU.
In an address to be broadcast shortly before Britain’s departure at 11pm, the Prime Minister will insist that Brexit marks ‘not an end but a beginning’.
At 11pm on Friday – midnight on the Continent – Britain will legally leave the EU and enter a ‘transition period’ which runs until December 31.
Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, pictured in Downing Street on January 8, will spend 2020 trying to hammer out a post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and Brussels
During this time the UK will remain subject to EU laws and free movement of people will continue.
On Monday Mr Johnson will deliver a major speech setting out his approach to both Brexit and national renewal.
Sources said he would be ‘very frank’ about his aims for the negotiations with Brussels and his determination to allow Britain to ‘diverge’ from the EU, even if this means the introduction of some trade barriers.
In a statement, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged the country not to ‘turn inwards’ and instead ‘build a truly internationalist, diverse and outward-looking Britain’.
Light shows and parties for Brexit Day countdown
A SPECIAL CABINET MEETING
Boris Johnson will this morning hold a Cabinet meeting in Sunderland, the first city to declare support for leaving the EU in the referendum. Ministers are expected to discuss the Prime Minister’s ‘levelling up’ agenda and how to use Brexit to spread prosperity and opportunity across the four nations of the UK.
PM ADDRESSES THE NATION
At 10pm, an address by Mr Johnson will be broadcast, calling for the country to come together and move forward.
NO 10 LIGHT SHOW
The UK’s final hour in the EU will be marked with a light display in Downing Street, including a clock counting down to 11pm projected on to the black bricks of the famous building. Ministries around Whitehall will be lit up in red, white and blue. The Government revealed plans for the light show after Mr Johnson failed in his bid to get Big Ben to bong at 11pm, the moment the UK leaves the EU – which will be midnight in Brussels. The Prime Minister is understood to be hosting his own private party in Downing Street.
PARLIAMENT SQUARE PARTY
Nigel Farage is organising a celebration rally from 9pm in Parliament Square. Speakers will include Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe and Tim Martin, the boss of Wetherspoon pubs. Participants are invited to wave flags and sing patriotic songs. Union Jacks have been hung around the square and down The Mall.
BRUSSELS WAVES GOODBYE
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will say a final farewell in the European Parliament just before midday. At 7.30pm, a ceremony will see Union flags taken down inside the European Council. After 11pm our time, the UK flag that hangs outside the European Parliament alongside those of other EU member states will be removed. It will go to the House Of European History museum.
About three million 50p coins, minted to mark Brexit, will start showing up today. Pictured left is the Royal Mint’s commemorative gold version, costing £945. Their inscription reads: ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations.’ Chancellor Sajid Javid originally ordered production in advance of the previous departure date of October 31, but the Brexit delay meant about a million had to be melted down.
EVENTS AROUND THE COUNTRY
Pubs and social clubs will be marking the occasion. One such event in Morley, West Yorkshire – billed The Big Brexit Bash – will be attended by Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns and MEP Lucy Harris, and feature fireworks, music, dancing and speeches.