EU ready to compromise on level playing field rules – four key trade stories to read today

Thu 25 Jun 2020
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

BREXIT talks

Each morning the IOE&IT content team scour the web to find the most important trade news of the day.

Below you can find four key stories that UK exporters and importers need to know about.

UK-EU optimism

Hopes continue to rise that a UK-EU deal by the autumn is doable, with the EU’s chief negotiator indicating the EU could compromise on ‘level playing field’ rules.

Michel Barnier maintains the EU will not budge on the integrity of the single market, but the FT reports that UK officials are “optimistic” for a deal. Barnier said:

“We are ready to work on operational and clever compromise but not at the price, never at the price, of any unravelling of the single market. Never.” 

Level playing field rules have been one of the four major sticking points in the talks alongside fisheries, security arrangements and governance.

Talks between the UK and EU are set to intensify from the start of next week.

Food protections

There are continued calls for the government to protect food standards in post-Brexit trade deals, with the new boss of Waitrose adding his voice to the campaign.

After the current transition period ends on 31 December 2020, the UK will be able to diverge from EU standards and rules.

However, over a million people have signed a petition calling for a ban on cheaply produced imports – such as chlorinated chicken – which could otherwise be boosted in future trade deals.

James Bailey, who joined Waitrose in April, said in the Guardian:

 “It would be simply wrong to maintain high standards at home yet import food from overseas that has been produced to lower standards. We would be closing our eyes to a problem that exists in another part of the world and to animals who are out of our sight and our minds. I feel sure customers will share our view.”

Manufacturing standards

The British Standards Institution, Make UK and the British Chambers of Commerce are also urging the government not to lower manufacturing standards in fear that the UK market could be flooded with cheap imports.

In a co-written letter to Greg Hands, the minister for trade policy, which was seen by the FT, they said:

“Competition with US companies flooding the market with lower standard goods will only have the effect of reducing further the domestic base.”

Huawei backed by military?

The US Defence Department has listed Huawei as one of 20 major Chinese firms to be either owned or backed by the Chinese military, potentially paving the way for further sanctions against the telecoms giant.

The BBC report that the list is being published to inform congressional committees, US businesses, investors and other potential partners of Chinese firms about the alleged role firms like Huawei play in transferring sensitive technology and information to the Chinese military.

The US is continuing to pressure the UK into dropping the deal it arranged with Huawei in January for the firm to develop its 5G infrastructure.