Brexit Secretary: U.K. Will Set Out EU Trade Objectives Next Month

LONDON (Reuters) —
Britain’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Stephen Barclay. (Reuters/Toby Melville)

Britain will set out more details about its objectives for a free trade deal with the European Union next month after the country leaves the bloc on Jan. 31, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said.

“We are going to publish our objectives for the negotiation (…) in due course after the 31st,” he told the BBC on Sunday.

At stake are the terms of trade from 2021, when an 11-month post-Brexit transition period is due to expire. Negotiations between London and Brussels are expected to start in March.

“The key issue is that we will have control of our rules, we will not be a rule taker, we will not diverge for the sake of diverging, we start from a position of alignment,” Barclay said.

“But the key opportunity is that we will be able to set our standards, high standards, on worker’s rights, on the environment, on state aid as part of that trade policy.”

The European Commission, which negotiates on behalf of the 27 remaining EU members, will thrash out its objectives next month before putting them to EU governments on Feb. 25. Negotiations are expected to start after that.

Barclay reiterated the U.K.’s ambition to agree a “zero-tariff, zero-quota, broadly ambitious trade policy,” with the European Union, while working to strike deals with other countries around the world, including the United States.

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