UK econ­omy won’t stay close to EU af­ter Brexit, Javid says

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

Lon­don, UK - UK Chan­cel­lor of the Ex­che­quer Sa­jid Javid sig­naled Bri­tain is plan­ning to shift its econ­omy fur­ther away from the Euro­pean Union’s, fir­ing an early salvo in what’s set to be a frac­tious year to ham­mer out their fu­ture re­la­tion­ship.

“There will not be align­ment, we will not be a rule­taker, we will not be in the sin­gle mar­ket and we will not be in the cus­toms union – and we will do this by the end of the year,” Javid said in an in­ter­view with the Fi­nan­cial Times (FT).

Javid’s com­ments, cou­pled with a re­port in the Daily Tele­graph that Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son is plan­ning to for­mally open trade talks with the US as soon as next month, sug­gest Bri­tain is seek­ing to put early pres­sure on the EU’s trade team even be­fore the UK of­fi­cially quits the bloc on Jan­uary 31.

The UK govern­ment is speed­ing up plans for trade ne­go­ti­a­tions with the US, the Tele­graph re­ported, with civil ser­vants pre­par­ing ad­vice for min­is­ters and John­son poised to seek au­tho­ri­sa­tion from the cab­i­net to start talks with the US next month pos­si­bly dur­ing a trip to Wash­ing­ton.

Any move to start ne­go­ti­a­tions with the US be­fore trade talks with the EU get fully un­der way could send a strong mes­sage to the EU that Bri­tain wants to break free of Euro­pean reg­u­la­tions. It could also fur­ther com­pli­cate dis­cus­sions with Brus­sels.

Talks with the EU al­ready face a daunt­ing sched­ule this year, with the EU prob­a­bly agree­ing its for­mal ne­go­ti­at­ing man­date only in late Fe­bru­ary and the of­fi­cial tran­si­tion pe­riod ex­pir­ing on De­cem­ber 31. John­son says that dead­line is im­mov­able, while EU Chief Ne­go­tia­tor Michel Barnier calls it ‘ex­tremely chal­leng­ing’.

As for the UK’s fi­nances, Javid said he wants to bol­ster growth rates be­tween 2.7 per cent and 2.8 per cent a year.

Im­prov­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity, which has been a brake on the econ­omy for sev­eral years, is also an is­sue he’s seek­ing to ad­dress, he told the FT.

Sa­jid Javid

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