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May's Brexit trade proposals strongly criticised by Michel Barnier

Prime Minister Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May
Michel Barnier

By Shaun Connolly

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said he is "strongly opposed" to key parts of Theresa May's proposals for a post-withdrawal trade deal.

In a fresh blow to the Prime Minister's Chequers plan, which triggered senior Cabinet resignations and faces growing opposition from Tory Brexiteers, Mr Barnier said a suggested "common rulebook" for goods would kill the European project.

He told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "We have a coherent market for goods, services, capital and people - our own ecosystem that has grown over decades. You cannot play with it by picking pieces.

"There is another reason why I strongly oppose the British proposal. There are services in every product. In your mobile phone, for example, it is 20 to 40% of the total value."

Mr Barnier also told EU car manufacturers they would have to use fewer British parts after Brexit in order to keep to tariff export rules.

The tough comments came as former Brexit secretary David Davis poured scorn on Mrs May's claim that she would not be "pushed into accepting compromises on the Chequers proposals that are not in our national interest" as that risked becoming an "an incredible open sesame to all".

He told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show: "In my view, the Chequers proposal ... is actually almost worse than being in. We will be under the rule of the EU with respect to all of our manufactured goods and agri-foods, that's a really serious concession, what about take back control, it doesn't work?"

Belfast Telegraph


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