Theresa May ignores business leaders' pleas and heads for cliff edge

Theresa May ignores business leaders' pleas and heads for cliff edge

Hammond, speaking on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Hamburg, said his preference was for Britain to negotiate a "transitional structure" that takes it out of the single market and customs union "but in the transition phase replicates as much as possible of the existing arrangements".

In the long term, he said Britain wanted an agreement that is "very business friendly. giving as full as possible reciprocal access to markets and as frictionless a border for our goods traffic as we possibly can achieve".

But two of Germany's main industry boses have now stated that their priority during Brexit talks will not be to support Britain's exit but to "maintain the integrity of the single market" for the remaining members of the European Union.

He named the Airbus wings plant, which employs 6,000 at Broughton, Flintshire, as the type of operation which depended on integration with continental Europe.

"I have heard some people in the United Kingdom argue that one can leave the single market and keep all of its benefits - that is not possible", Barnier said.

He told the Commons Treasury Select Committee that American competitors such as Boeing would be "delighted" if that happened.

Speaking at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Mrs May has warned that Britain can not remain in the customs union post-Brexit if it wants to strike free trade deals with non-EU countries.

Michel Barnier told an European Union committee in Brussels that there will be "negative" consequences to Brexit, which result from the UK's decision to vote Leave in last year's referendum and not from any attempt by the European Union to "punish" the UK.




He went on, "In reality the "no deal" scenario would aggravate the lose/lose situation, which is a necessary outcome of Brexit". "We're going into an arrangement with the European Union already with zero tariffs, we're going there with complete regulatory equivalence and with customs systems that already work", Fox told Reuters during a visit to Paris.

The Labour party has pledged to leave the single market in order to end free movement of people, but officials say they are in favour of a "jobs-first" Brexit. "Close the door fully and then expect that the door can be opened again for a free trade agreement", he said.

Pressed by British and Irish delegates about the Irish border issue, Barnier said he understood Ireland was a special case but that the European Union would also protect its own market.

"The UK will remain a very important partner for us, but we need a fair deal for both sides respecting this principle", Kramer told the Observer.

At the G20, UK Prime Minister Theresa May met with President Donald Trump who said the USA would strike a "very powerful" trade deal with Britain "very quickly" after Brexit.

As well as striking a different note from the Prime Minister, the Chancellor's views put him at odds with leading Tory Brexiteers, who have argued that signing trade deals around the world could underpin Britain's prosperity post-EU.

Fairbarn said the CBI was concerned that businesses were deferring had deferred or dropped investment decisions because of fears over no deal being reached.

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