February 27, 2020 / 1:22 PM / a month ago

Factbox: What Britain wants from the EU on trade

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has unveiled a tough negotiating mandate for talks with the European Union, underlining its desire for future economic and political independence that pits London on a collision course with Brussels.

FILE PHOTO: Participants hold a British Union flag and an EU flag during a pro-EU referendum event at Parliament Square in London, Britain June 19, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

Here is a link to the mandate document: here

Below are some of the key sections:

TIMING

The two sides have until June to get what London’s negotiating team called “the broad outline of an agreement” to be finalised by September, otherwise Britain would head for an Australian-style agreement, a looser trading arrangement.

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Britain said it wants legally binding obligations on access to the EU financial market coupled with arrangements for maintaining trust as rules evolve.

A trade deal with the bloc should provide a “predictable, transparent and business-friendly environment” for cross-border financial services activities, Britain said.

“The agreement should include legally binding obligations on market access and fair competition,” the document said.

Britain also wants arrangements to allow regulators on both sides to co-operate and build “enduring” confidence that can deal with rules as they evolve.

The mandate says that Britain has left the bloc with the same rules as in the EU, thereby providing a “strong basis” for concluding the assessments on time.

STATE AID AND SUBSIDIES

“The agreement should ensure that the UK and EU’s state owned enterprises operate in a fair and transparent manner and do not discriminate against businesses in the other party when buying and selling on commercial markets,” the document said.

“These provisions should apply to business enterprises where the state has significant control through full, majority or minority ownership.”

Britain will have its own regime of subsidy control, the document says, and the agreement should include an obligation on both parties to notify the other every two years on any subsidy granted within its territory applying to goods or services.

REGULATION

“The agreement should include provisions on good regulatory practice and regulatory co-operation, in relation to business activities,” the document said.

“They should include reciprocal commitments to regulation-making processes that are robust, transparent, evidence-based and proportionate, and ensure that regulatory burdens are kept to a minimum.”

STANDARDS

“The agreement should include reciprocal commitments not to weaken or reduce the level of protection afforded by labor laws and standards in order to encourage trade and investment,” the document said.

“The agreement should recognize the right of each party to set its labor priorities and adopt or modify its labor laws.”

Britain also said it should not be required to follow EU standards and that the agreement with the EU should not constrain its tax sovereignty in any way.

CUSTOMS

Britain said the agreement should provide for streamlined customs arrangements covering all trade in goods in order to smooth trade while also ensuring customs authorities are able to protect their regulatory, security and financial interests.

“Acknowledging the practical constraints of ‘roll-on roll-off trade’, it should include measures to minimize delays at the border associated with customs clearance,” it said.

SERVICES

The document says the agreement should provide for “balanced and reciprocal market access” for services.

AUTO TRADE

Britain’s future trade deal with the EU should facilitate auto trade based on international standards on vehicle safety and environmental protection.

The mandate said the deal “should facilitate trade in all categories of motor vehicles, equipment and parts, based on international standards on vehicle safety and environmental protection.”

“It should draw on the parties’ commitments to mutual recognition of type approvals for products covered by UN regulations, consistent with the approach in agreements such as the EU-Japan EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement).”

MARKET ACCESS

“The agreement should provide liberalized market access for trade in goods. The provisions on market access should be comprehensive and ensure there are no tariffs, fees, charges and quantitative restrictions on trade in manufactured and agricultural goods between the UK and the EU, where goods meet the relevant rules of origin; and should ensure that Special Agricultural Safeguards are not applied to goods traded between the parties.”

“ ... it should facilitate trade and address non-tariff barriers for UK exports to the EU - such as import and export licensing restrictions - and vice versa”

FISHING

Britain wants a separate fishing agreement alongside the trade deal, with annual negotiations on dividing up total catch.

The government said the agreement must respect Britain’s status as an independent coastal state, and cover access to UK and EU waters, fishing opportunities and future cooperation on fisheries management.

“Fishing opportunities should be negotiated annually, based on the best available science for shared stocks,” it said.

Britain said it would no longer accept the “relative stability” mechanism for sharing fishing quotas as it was outdated. Instead the government wants to use the principle of zonal attachment which it said better reflects where fish live and is the basis for the EU’s fisheries agreement with Norway.

INTELLIGENCE SHARING

“The UK is open to negotiating a Security of Information Agreement covering classified information, if the EU requires it.

“The agreement should provide a framework and set out the mechanisms for the UK and EU to exchange classified information. Such an agreement would facilitate, but not mandate, the exchange of classified information.”

DATA

“To maintain the continued free flow of personal data from the EU to the UK, the UK will seek ‘adequacy decisions’ from the EU under both the General Data Protection Regulation and the Law Enforcement Directive before the end of the transition period.

“These are separate from the wider future relationship and do not form part of trade agreements. This will allow the continued free flow of personal data from the EEA (European Economic Area) States to the UK, including for law enforcement purposes.”

DISPUTES

The document says there will be no role for the Court of Justice of the European Union in the agreement’s dispute resolution mechanism.

Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Stephen Addison

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