EU Publishes UK Trade Negotiating Mandate



According to the EU, it wishes to establish an "ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced economic partnership" with the UK. The mandate stresses that the future partnership should be underpinned by "robust commitments" to ensure a level playing field for open and fair competition, given the EU and the UK's geographic proximity and economic interdependence.

The EU intends to establish a free trade agreement with the UK which ensures that zero tariffs and quotas apply to trade in goods. According to the published communique, this agreement should provide for cooperation on customs and regulatory aspects. It should also include effective management and supervision, dispute settlement and enforcement arrangements.

On fisheries, the mandate outlines that the future partnership should uphold the existing reciprocal access to waters as well as stable quota shares. The agreement on fisheries should be established by 1 July 2020, to give time for determining fishing opportunities after the end of the transition period - given the UK's firm refusal so far to countenence surrending fishing rights as part of any deal, this would could be an immediate and difficult topic once formal negotiations open. 

The mandate also contains provisions for future cooperation in areas such as digital trade, intellectual property, public procurement, mobility, transport, and energy. 

The EU will seek also to establish a comprehensive security partnership with the UK. The partnership should comprise law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, as well as foreign policy, security and defence. The mandate foresees that the future partnership should be embedded in an overall governance framework covering all areas of cooperation - this again is differenct from public statements from the UK Government, who have expressed a wish to keep security and defence issues out of trade talks. 

The UK will publish the Government's mandate later this week - expect sizable differents in starting positions.


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