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Theresa May sets out vision on trade with European Union post-Brexit

04 March 2018

She said the European Court of Justice could not be the ultimate arbiter of any disputes that develop between Britain and the European Union after Brexit.

In an attempt to add detail to Britain's negotiation on leaving the EU, May mixed concessions with a plea for a deal that would keep trade flowing between the world's biggest trade bloc and Britain's US$2.7 trillion (RM11 trillion) economy.

Under the Commission's current proposals (which does not predict any long-term deal - although this may still be agreed), most goods sold into the European Union before December 21, 2020, are supposed to circulate freely afterwards. The USA and Canada have only been deemed to be partially adequate, and the data sharing with the USA is governed by the 2016 Privacy Shield agreement. "The future of our trading relationship is up there with the most critical issues facing the British farming industry". The UK has exceptionally high standards of data protection.

The speech avoided major rows within the Conservative Party at home despite Mrs May's apparent warning to hardline Brexiteers to temper their expectations, acknowledging that neither side would get "exactly what we want" in talks on the future UK/EU relationship.

That is why we will be seeking more than just an adequacy arrangement and want to see an appropriate ongoing role for the UK's Information Commissioner's Office.

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We chose to leave and we have a responsibility to help find a solution.

On the Brexit deal, the Prime Minister said: "It must strengthen our union of nations and our union of people".

The BIA has been lobbying for regulatory cooperation since the day after the referendum vote for the leave the European Union in June 2016.

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier welcomed the "clarity" on Britain's position, as well as "a recognition of trade-offs".

"I believe that is achievable because it is in the EU's interests as well as ours and because of our unique starting point, where on day one we both have the same laws and rules". By close alignment on key issues like data flows coupled with world-beating regulation here at home, the United Kingdom tech sector can thrive.

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"In certain ways, our access to each other's markets will be less than it is now", she said.

An official in May's office told reporters the speech showed the prime minister is being pragmatic rather than theological.

However, others were less pleased about the UK's commitment to leave the Digital Single Market. "If we were able to negotiate associate membership, we would be able to ensure that we could continue to provide our technical expertise", said May. They will have their own demands and requirements for a free trade agreement.

But German MEP Manfred Weber - an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel and leader of the centre-right EPP grouping in the European Parliament - said: "I don't see how we could reach an agreement on Brexit if the UK Government continues to bury its head in the sand like this".

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Theresa May sets out vision on trade with European Union post-Brexit