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Brexit breakthrough: How UK can follow Switzerland’s example in EU trade negotiations

BRITAIN can follow Switzerland’s example in the upcoming Brexit negotiations with the EU, ex-Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan told

On Monday, Boris Johnson accused the EU of “shifting the goalposts” on the terms of the basic Canada-style Free Trade Agreement to which Britain now aspires. This is because during a press conference in Brussels, Michel Barnier claimed the UK must sign up to “specific and effective” guarantees to ensure fair competition and prevent it from undercutting EU rules and regulations. Mr Johnson believes this is unfair, imposing far too onerous conditions onto the UK in return for limited access to the EU’s single market.

Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, said demands for regulatory alignment are out of kilter with what was greed last October in the Political Declaration on the Future Relationship that Mr Johnson signed to get his ‘oven ready’ Brexit deal.

He said: “We would expect to be treated, first of all in the same way third countries are with the rest of the EU, like Japan, like South Korea, like Canada.”

As fears the negotiations could turn into a major showdown grow, ex-Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan told Mr Johnson will indeed succeed and obtain what he wants from the talks.

The Brexiteer argued Britain can follow Switzerland’s example in the upcoming negotiations with the bloc.

He said: “It is worth saying that the EU has committed to doing this.

“It is amazing how europhile media here will give uncritical coverage to any eurocrat, even if they say it on the record.

“On the record, in the political declaration, as a binding commitment by the EU, there is a best endeavours clause that says ‘we will have all of this done so it can come into effect by the end of 2020.’

“It does not just say that it will be agreed by 2020.

“And the political declaration goes on to say that pending ratification by the 27 parliaments, the commission will apply this deal on an interim basis.

“So yes. Not only it is technically feasible, it is a formal undertaking by the EU.

“To show how it is easy we did exactly such a deal with Switzerland.

“We covered free movement, financial services, free trade aviation, in five months.”

According to a recent report by the Guardian, negotiations on the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU will officially start on March 3.

A leaked internal document from the EU member states, seen by the publication, notes without a deal by the end of December 2020, there will be a “cliff edge” in many areas and “no return to the status quo”.

The UK and Switzerland signed a deal to continue trading after Brexit in February 2019.

Ex-International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said at the time the deal would “continue the preferential trade that we have”.

Around £32bn of trade is done between the UK and Switzerland each year, with 15,000 British exporters trading with the country.

Mr Fox said: “Switzerland is one of the most valuable trading partners that we are seeking continuity for. This is of huge economic importance to UK businesses.

“Not only will this help to support jobs throughout the UK but it will also be a solid foundation for us to build an even stronger trading relationship with Switzerland as we leave the EU.”

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