The UK intends to deviate from the nexus of EU trading relations, reviewing issues such as import quotas the U.K.’s international trade secretary told CNBC on Tuesday.
The U.K. will not “cut and paste” existing European trade agreements after a Brexit agreement has been completed, Liam Fox said. Fox claims there is keen interest from third countries like South Korea, Switzerland, and the United State to move swiftly on successor trade agreements, although these cannot be penned for as long as Britain is a member of the Single Market and the Customs’ Union.
On Tuesday, the European Commission (EC) reiterated that there is little scope to begin negotiation on a future trade agreement as there has been little progress in the negotiation of citizens’ rights, the so-called “divorce settlement,” and the Irish border.
“I can’t say that we are ready to enter the second phase of the negotiations,” EC President Jean-Claude Juncker told the European Parliament on Tuesday.
The British government has been unable to break the sequential framing of Brexit negotiations, despite the fact that Theresa May’s proposal for transitional Single Market membership for a period of at least two years means sustained contributions to the EU budget. That change of policy direction may significantly reduce the cost of the financial settlement. However, the European Commission is not ready to propose moving to the next phase of the negotiation as there has been no specific agreement on the sequential three-items agenda.
Addressing the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on Tuesday, Liam Fox invited the public to be optimistic about the prospect of Brexit, as “we are not passengers in our own destiny.”