Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly removed a pledge in a key Brexit document that would stop the UK becoming a competitor of the EU.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May had told Brussels the UK would stick to similar rules as the EU in areas such as competition and environmental protections. The promise would have preserved restrictive so-called “level-playing-field standards” after the UK leaves the EU in exchange for access to European markets.
However, media reports that Boris Johnson has scrapped that pledge in the Political Declaration, which sets out the draft future relationship between the UK and the bloc after Brexit.
One Cabinet source told The Sun: “The level-playing-field promise has to go, and Boris is very clear about this. It would seriously restrict our ability to deregulate and to do trade deals with other countries.”
Number 10 sent the new version of the document to EU leaders along with Mr Johnson’s proposed new deal which eliminates the Irish backstop. The backstop could lock the UK in regulatory alignment with the EU after the transition period, hampering the ability to sign free trade agreements with third countries.
The report comes after French minister Amélie de Montchalin said on Thursday: “I do not want to have a tax haven at the gates of Europe.”
European countries have feared a Brexit Britain diverging away from the EU on regulations or becoming more welcoming to non-EU investors through lower-tax incentivisation.
In September, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed concern that Brexit would result in the EU having an “economic competitor at our door”.
France Frightened of ‘Tax Haven’ Brexit Britain ‘at the Gates of Europe’ https://t.co/hHEGTHxooV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 4, 2019
That the UK drifting away from the EU and towards historical ally and fellow Anglosphere nation the United States is also a worry for European Council President-elect Charles Michel. The current Belgian prime minister fretted: “How do we maintain a close relationship to the United Kingdom, our ally and neighbour? How will we repair the potential damage caused by a hard Brexit? The UK is now looking more and more toward the United States.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has promised a free trade deal with the UK and soon as she is ready. A bilateral agreement could open up British and American markets to each other’s goods, representing opportunities for business and choice for consumers on both sides of the pond.
Last week, Prime Minister Johnson met with American and Canadian business leaders in New York City. He said: “We want to do so much more because our country is going up a gear.”
He continued: “On October 31st, we intend to be more global, more outward-looking, more committed to the rest of the world than ever before.
“We’re going to take advantage of all the freedoms that Brexit can give whether it’s new tax allowances for businesses or speedier public procurement contracts or creating new free ports, enterprise zones, devising better regulations for sectors the UK leads the world [… and] more competitive tax rates.”
While such language may disturb Eurocrats focused on preserving ‘fair play’ on the continent, President Trump has often criticised the protectionist EU racket, comparing the bloc to China and its practices.
PM Johnson Woos U.S. Investment with Post-Brexit Lower Taxes, Regulation Cuts https://t.co/0HSC8gPSCq
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 24, 2019