UK trade deals 'won't make up for single market loss' says Menon

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Although the UK is just a year out from concluding the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, one expert has claimed Britain will seek to become more closely aligned to the EU single market. But Professor Alex De Ruyter, from Birmingham University, insisted Brexit will not be reversed – despite Rejoiner hopes. When asked if the UK will align with the EU’s single market, professor De Ruyter told Express.co.uk: “Personally, I think this is quite likely.

“Let’s be clear: such moves wouldn’t be about reversing Brexit.

“Instead, they would be about the UK deciding for itself that in certain areas common standards make sense and serve the national interest.

“An obvious example would be a veterinary agreement, but more general alignment over sanitary and phytosanitary standards might also be something to work towards.”

The UK has resisted any approach to realign with the EU since the 2016 referendum.

The Government has suggested doing so would defeat the purpose of Brexit.

The EU’s single market is comprised of its 27 member states and allows the free movement of goods, people and services.

Some have called on the UK to sign a veterinary agreement with the EU in order to ease some of the issues for the trade of agri-food.

Switzerland has a similar agreement with the EU and it removes the majority of checks needed for meat, poultry and mince.

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Lord Frost has refused to sign such a deal and instead has extended the grace period for checks on agri-food products entering Britain from Northern Ireland.

At the Tory conference on Monday, Lord Frost reiterated threats regarding the Northern Ireland protocol.

In his speech, he insisted he will share legal texts with Brussels over how to resolve issues but could utilise Article 16 if the bloc refuses to act.

Lord Frost had set out proposals in July as part of the UK’s attempt to find a new balance within the relationship.

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Article 16 allows either side to take unilateral action if the Brexit deal causes undue harm to trade.

He said: “I set out in July a set of proposals that would establish a new balance for a lasting future – and I will soon be sending a new set of legal texts to the EU to support them.

“We await a formal response from the EU to our proposals. But, from what I hear, I worry that we will not get one which enables the significant change we need.

“So I urge the EU to be ambitious. It’s no use tinkering around the edges. We need significant change.

“If we can agree something better, we can get back to where we wanted to be – an independent Britain with friendly relations with the EU based on free trade.

“But we cannot wait forever. Without an agreed solution soon, we will need to act, using the Article 16 safeguard mechanism, to address the impact the protocol is having on Northern Ireland.

“That may in the end be the only way to protect our country – our people, our trade, our territorial integrity, the peace process, and the benefits of this great UK of which we are all part.”

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