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Johnson: UK will not follow EU's commercial rules

Shortly before Mr Johnson spoke, the European Union set out its draft negotiating mandate, calling for "reciprocal access" for fishing vessels, and stating that a free trade area with no tariffs or quotas was contingent on a "level playing field ... ensured through robust commitments".

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlines his government's negotiating stance with the European Union after Brexit, during a speech at the Old Naval College, in Greenwich, Britain, on February 3, 2020.

The principle is less about product standards and more about the environment in which companies operate in different countries, shaped by rules on state aid, competition, state-owned enterprises, social and employment standards, environmental standards, climate change and tax.

Barnier said Johnson has already agreed to prevent "unfair competitive advantages" in the political declaration which was part of the divorce deal. "We have made our choice - we want a free trade agreement". This is down to several key issues - standards on the environment and safety, the role of the European Court of Justice in settling disputes concerning Britain as well as continual access for EU fishing operations in United Kingdom waters.

But a critical element of any new trade agreement will be the degree to which Britain continues to abide by numerous bloc's rules in such areas as labor rights, environmental standards and antitrust rules.

"We must now agree on specific and effective guarantees to ensure a level playing field over the long term", Mr. Barnier said in a speech in Brussels.

According to the British Prime Minister, free trade is actually something good and the tensions that have arisen in the world as a result of all kinds of rates are damaging to the world economy. Canada and the European Union have also agreed to co-operate on various standards, including for some agricultural products.

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Diane James: We're at the very early stages of the negotiations during the transition period, which hopefully will end on the 31st of December, and what you've got is both sides effectively putting up their red lines, and understandably, because Boris Johnson has in the past made his position clear, and it does dovetail with what people expect him to deliver, it is him saying "no, we are not going to follow the EU's rules and regulations, we are not going to allow the ECJ to have cover over everything that happens in terms of the trade deal, because that's not Brexit". The third pillar is the management and supervision of the agreements.

A deal would have to be found by the end of October to give enough time for legal clarifications, translations and ratification.

On that note, analysts have warned that Britain must be realistic about what it can achieve over the short transition period. As a final blow to the EU, fishing, which is integral to many European countries, will be dominated by British boats that are on British waters.

That goes beyond the Canada-EU agreement, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA.

Legally, the commission is planning an association agreement with the UK.

These three words will be the watchwords of European Union negotiators this year but are commonly misunderstood.



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