A future British government should adopt a “general policy” of aligning with EU regulations to improve post-Brexit trade, an independent, multi-party business group said on Wednesday.
The recommendation to align with EU standards in sectors of manufacturing and trade in goods in general was one of 114 proposals presented at a report published by the UK Business and Trade Commission, which is co-chaired by Hilary Benn, Labor MP and former Cabinet Minister.
The ideas, which include setting up a new Board of Trade to act as an independent watchdog for UK trade policy, follow a promise by the Labor leader. Sir Keir Starmer build a “closer relationship” with Brussels if the party wins the next general election.
Benn, Speaker of the House of Commons brexit select committee until it was dissolved by the Boris Johnson government in January 2021, said the report provided “a menu of things that could be done to help our businesses grow and prosper.”
“Now is the time to hear from companies about what needs to be done to fix the problems that we can all clearly see,” he added.
Starmer has vowed to “fix Brexit” after the Johnson-brokered EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) created a series of barriers with Britain’s biggest trading partner. This month, he said that “the deal we have, it was said to be ready for the oven, it wasn’t even half cooked.”
But Labor has provided scant details on how it would reduce Brexit border friction while keeping a promise not to rejoin the EU’s single market or enter a customs union with the bloc.
Based on extensive oral hearings and written evidence from more than 200 companies and trade groups, the CommissionThe report set out a number of policy options ahead of the upcoming elections, due to take place in January 2025, and the TCA’s five-year review, due to start the same year. He acknowledged that some of his proposals would require the cooperation of the EU.
To ease the impact of ending free movement in the EU, the body suggested a Youth Mobility Scheme for people aged 18-30, reciprocal visa arrangements for musicians and other cultural workers, and rejoining a scheme of the EU to provide group visas for school trips.
Along with a deal to align with the bloc’s veterinary and food standards, which Labor has already promised to work on, the commission called for the creation of an EU Regulatory Cooperation Council so London and Brussels can collaborate more broadly on rules. future.
He also said the UK should strengthen ties with EU regulatory bodies such as the European Medicines Agency and the European Chemicals Agency, including making financial contributions, to promote “cooperation and harmonisation”.
The approach would mark a sea change in the current government’s policy of regulatory divergence with the EU, although investigation published in February by the UK at a Changing Europe think tank showed that companies had been slow to embrace the idea.
Juergen Maier, the former head of Siemens UK, said politicians needed to step in to ease the economic damage inflicted by Brexit on businesses of all sizes.
“The EU is the UK’s largest trading partner and a key standard-setting factor globally, so ending dogmatic divergence and replacing it with regulatory alignment where beneficial, along with a new cooperative body to facilitate it, it’s a no-brainer,” he said. saying.
The government said: “The Trade and Cooperation Agreement is the largest zero-tariff, zero-quota free trade agreement in the world. It secures access to the UK market in key service sectors and opens up new opportunities for UK businesses around the world. Following the Windsor Framework, both the UK and the EU have publicly committed to further maximizing the opportunities of the ATT.
“The UK and the EU are allies, trading partners and friends. We will continue to work closely with the EU and its institutions on a variety of shared interests to uphold the stability, security and prosperity of our continent.”