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07 November 2017

BBC: UK Ministers publish post-EU trade legislation

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The Government said the Trade Bill includes provisions for the UK to implement existing EU trade agreements and help ensure firms can still access £1.3tn worth of foreign government contracts.

It will also create a new trade remedies body to defend UK businesses against injurious trade practices.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said firms needed "as much stability as possible" on the day the UK leaves. [...]

On the eve of the bill's publication, one of Donald Trump's leading allies said he was optimistic that the UK and US will sign a free trade deal after Brexit.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the BBC there had already been a "joint scoping exercise" in Washington in July on a free trade agreement and another similar meeting will be held in London next week.

"We're huge trading partners with each other and our economies are in many ways more similar to each other than either of us is to most of Europe," he said.

"So there's all the logic in the world for the US and the UK to be not only good trading partners, but FTA partners," he said.

'Extreme protectionism'

He also accused the EU of being guilty of "extreme protectionism".

Mr Ross, who met Theresa May and other senior ministers during a two-day visit, identified continued "passporting" of financial services, compliance with EU food standards on GM crops and chlorine-washed chicken and future trade tariffs as areas that could pose problems in negotiations between the nations.

But he said it would not be possible to identify specific points of contention until the shape of the divorce deal is known and insisted he hopes a UK-US free trade agreement will take less than 10 years to negotiate.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the point of the trade bill was to "provide as much stability as possible" for businesses on the day Britain leaves the EU and to prevent market instability.

But looking beyond that, the UK wanted to negotiate "more liberal" trade agreements to "provide even better market access than we have through our EU membership".

"One of our worries is that global trade is not opening up," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme, and the UK wanted to "use its influence to get a more liberal global trading system" once it had left the EU.

Full article on BBC

Trade Bill

© BBC - British Broadcasting Corporation

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