The UK aims to lead a “global race to the top” in rights and standards rather than become a “Mad Max” dystopia of deregulation, David Davis said on Tuesday.
That reference was addressing a domestic audience, as the Labour opposition has accused the government of paving the way for a low-wage offshore tax heaven for the UK.
Addressing an audience of business leaders in Austria, Davis acknowledged that British businesses will never produce products that are cheaper than China’s and committed to product and service quality.
The Brexit Secretary expressed the hope rather than the certainty that a deal with the EU within 2018 was “well on the cards.”
Such an agreement would entail “mutual recognition” of standards, Davis said, underscoring the UK’s determination to carve its own regulatory environment outside the Single Market and the Customs’ Union.
And he also underscored the need for “trust” for each other’s regulations “and the institutions that enforce them,” on the basis of “close, even-handed cooperation.”
That was a reference to the flat resistance to European Court of Justice jurisdiction. Citing precedents, the Brexit Secretary compared the UK’s future agreement to those concluded with Switzerland, Canada, and South Korea.
However, the UK is demanding fewer constraints than Switzerland with similar access to the Single Market. Switzerland contributes to the EU budget, including structural funds, and remains committed to the Single Market.
Labour’s Shadow Secretary Sir Keir Starmer called theses reassurances “farcical.”
Soon afterward, Luxembourg’s finance minister made clear that as long as the UK trades with Europe on the basis of common standards trade will be uninterrupted. However, outside the common regime, there will be disruption.