Brexit: David McCredie discusses UK trade deal with Australia
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International trade secretary Liz Truss has turned her attention on deals with countries outside the bloc, including Australia, New Zealand and India, since the UK officially cut ties with the EU last December. She said this week the UK has also set its sights on a post-Brexit deal with oil-rich Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. She told the Telegraph: “The Gulf is a definite target and we are working on the approach to the Gulf.”
However, Dr Elvire Fabry, a specialist researcher at the Institut Jacques Delors in France, ripped into Britain’s trading prospects.
She warned Britain may struggle with the logistics of trading with “far-off markets”.
She said: “Compensating for the restricted access to the European market can’t be easily done with one or two partners. Even a deal with the US – and it remains to be seen how deep it would go – would only represent a fifth or a quarter of commercial volume with the EU. They would need four or five equivalents of the US.
“That doesn’t exist, and as the British economy depends 80 percent on services and services are even more linked than goods to questions of geographic proximity, it’s an additional challenge for the British economy to manage to accede to far-off markets.
“Services are always the poor relation in commercial agreements: There are a lot of difficulties in opening up markets, a lot of regulatory obstacles.
“And that’s what we are seeing now, with the deal, with British firms that are very exposed to all the complexity of the specific rules of the 27 member states.
“It’s a real nightmare, when you have been used to the simplicity of the single market – to find case by case, many complications and exceptions. This will be part of the ‘second effect of Brexit’, which will accompany the end of the Covid restrictions, with the services markets starting up again, it’s a reality that will become a bit more tangible in the months to come.”
Meanwhile, the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with France has now been plain sailing.
Tensions between France and the UK have grown over the last few months as French fisherman have lashed out at the UK-EU’s Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA).
Last month, French Europe Minister Clément Beaune accused the UK of blocking fishing rights due to difficulties in French fisherman obtaining licences to British waters.
He said: “The United Kingdom is expecting quite a few authorisations from us for financial services. We won’t give any for as long as we don’t have guarantees on fishing and other issues.”
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