Here are some of the key details contained in the Government’s summary of the Brexit plan Theresa May’s Cabinet agreed at Chequers.
At the core of the proposal is the establishment of a “free trade area for goods” to “avoid friction at the border, protect jobs and livelihoods, and ensure both sides meet their commitments to Northern Ireland and Ireland”.
Details of the plan include:
– The UK and EU agreeing a “common rulebook for all goods including agri-foods”, with British ministers committing in a treaty to ongoing harmonisation with Brussels’ rules necessary to provide for frictionless trade at ports and the border with Ireland.
– The UK Parliament would have the ability to choose not to incorporate future rules, but accepts there would be “consequences” for trade.
– There would be “regulatory flexibility” for services, with the UK recognising that would mean neither side enjoying “current levels of access” to each other’s markets.
– A common rulebook on state aid would be agreed, preventing either side from subsidising their own industries, with co-operation between competition watchdogs on either side of the English Channel.
– The UK will commit to maintaining high environmental, climate change, social, employment and consumer protection standards.
– A joint institutional framework will be established to oversee UK-EU agreements, with the UK agreeing to pay “due regard” to EU case law in areas where the common rulebook applies.
– A “facilitated customs agreement” would remove the need for customs checks by treating the UK and EU “as if a combined customs territory”.
– The UK would apply the EU’s tariffs and trade policy for goods intended for the bloc but would be able to control its own tariffs and trade for the domestic market, with the plan being phased in as both sides complete the necessary preparations.
Ministers claimed the plan would result in an “ambitious relationship that nonetheless respected the UK’s sovereignty and the EU’s autonomy”.
Benefits claimed for the plan include:
– Frictionless access for goods, protecting supply chains the the just-in-time model used by major manufacturers such as carmakers.
– Avoiding the need for a border between Northern Ireland and Ireland or within the UK.
– Allowing the UK to have an independent trade policy, with the potential to join countries including Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada in Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
– Ending free movement “giving the UK back control over how many people enter the country”.
– Ending “vast annual payments” to the EU budget, although “appropriate contributions” will still be made for joint programmes in specific areas.
Ministers also acknowledged that “it was responsible to continue preparations for a range of potential outcomes, including the possibility of ‘no deal'”.