U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid signaled Britain is planning to shift its economy further away from the European Union’s after Brexit, firing an early salvo in what’s set to be a fractious year to hammer out their future relationship.
UK after Brexit
“There will not be alignment, we will not be a ruletaker, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union — and we will do this by the end of the year,” Javid said in an interview with the Financial Times.
Javid’s comments, coupled with a report in the Daily Telegraph that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to formally open trade talks with the U.S. as soon as next month, suggest Britain is seeking to put early pressure on the EU’s trade team even before the U.K. officially quits the bloc Jan. 31.
The official transition period expires Dec. 31, a date that Johnson says is immovable and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier calls “extremely challenging.”
The debate over how much Britain will diverge from the EU with regards to regulatory standards is set to form a key plank for how the talks progress — a no-deal Brexit could create border delays and increase costs for carmakers and other manufacturers.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the further the U.K. goes at it alone, the more it will be regarded in Brussels as a direct competitor.
“There will be an impact on business one way or the other, some will benefit, some won’t,” Javid said, urging companies to adjust their strategies accordingly. He plans to back more projects in regions outside London and the southeast, and pump more funds into training the country’s workforce.
His mantra for the post-Brexit economy: “human capitalism.”
As for the country’s finances, Javid said he wants to bolster growth rates to between 2.7% and 2.8% a year. Improving productivity, which has been a brake on the economy for several years, is also an issue he’s seeking to address, he said to the newspaper.
Source: Financial Times