5 things we learned from Theresa May’s Brexit white paper

Theresa May

LONDON — Theresa May on Thursday afternoon published the UK government’s plans for its future relationship with the European Union after Brexit.

The 98-page document calls for a relationship which is “broader in scope than any other that exists between the EU and a third country” and reflects “the EU’s deep history, close ties and unique starting point” with the UK.

To save you the hassle of reading 98 pages, here are the five key things you need to know about May’s new Brexit plan.

May wants to stay very, very close to the single market

Under May’s plan, the UK will cease to be a full member of the single market but will choose to effectively stay inside it for goods. This means the UK will continue to follow EU standards for the trade of goods after it has left the bloc. This is described as a “common rulebook” in the white paper. Goods account for around 20% of the national economy.

The UK government could in the future decide not to follow some EU rules. However, there would be harsh penalties for doing so, including reduced access to the single market, which would have costly consequences for UK businesses. This plan therefore effectively permanently ties Britain to EU rules.

Brexiteers don’t like this part of the plan because it means EU rules would continue in the UK despite it no longer being a member state. It would also make free trade deals with countries with different standards, like the USA, much less likely.

It is also doubtful whether the EU will agree to a Brexit deal which would give the UK privileged access to their markets without signing up to the same responsibilities as members. Last month, a senior EU official said this would be unacceptable as it would undermine the integrity of the single market.

For pro-EU MPs and City of London figures, the proposal doesn’t keep the UK close enough to the single market, as there is no mention of single market treatment for services. Services accounts for 80% of the UK economy.

She also wants the UK to collect EU tariffs

May wants to form an unprecedented customs relationship with the EU in which the UK would collect EU tariffs for goods headed for the EU before they get there. This, the UK government believes, would go some way to preserving the open Irish border, …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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