UK criticised for ‘unforced errors’ on trade deals – FT

  • Boris Johnson’s government has made “unforced errors” by rushing into trade negotiations with third countries before resolving its regulatory position on key issues such as food standards, according to one of the UK’s most respected think-tanks.
  • The Institute for Government warned that Mr Johnson risked throwing away Britain’s new-found regulatory autonomy after Brexit by succumbing to pressure from countries to lower standards to secure trade deals.
  • The findings, published on Monday, said the internal Whitehall dispute over whether to allow certain US foodstuffs into Britain, including chicken dipped in chlorine baths, was a symptom of more trouble to come.
  • The report calls on the government to adopt a more “co-operative approach with the devolved administrations”, to clarify its regulatory red lines and to develop stronger internal decision-making structures, including fully involving arm’s length regulators.
  • It also suggests giving parliament a greater power of scrutiny over trade deals and regulatory changes. “Negotiators will benefit from being able to point to difficult stakeholders back home,” the report says.
  • The government insisted that countries like New Zealand had shown it was possible to have liberal trade policies and retain the highest regulatory standards.
  • It said it was committed to a transparent approach to trade negotiations including updates to parliament and that MPs could block any deal they did not like.
Author

Jessica's practice focuses on international trade and anti-bribery work, encompassing customs, export control and sanctions matters. Jessica's trade work includes advising international clients on fast-moving and evolving EU and UN sanctions, notably in respect of Iran and Russia, and on compliance with UK and EU export controls. Her trade experience also includes advising on tariff classification and customs valuations. Jessica's anti-bribery experience includes assisting with investigations, and advising clients on compliance with anti-bribery laws. Jessica has also taken a lead role in monitoring Brexit-related developments; analysing how they will affect the UK's trading position generally, and clients' businesses specifically. She has helped clients begin to conduct risk assessments of how Brexit will impact their businesses, and has assisted them in developing tailored Brexit strategies. Jessica also presents at various seminars, webinars, and conferences on the complexities of Brexit. Jessica advises global clients on complex issues arising from international transactions and works with clients across a number of sectors including pharmaceuticals, defence, finance, aviation, energy, and telecommunications. Jessica has also worked previously in Paris, and is fluent in French.

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