LONDON — The U.K. understands it cannot have “all the benefits” of the European single market without “all the obligations,” but it would “make no sense” to create barriers to trade, Philip Hammond and David Davis said in a German newspaper article Wednesday.
Writing in the Frankfurter Allgemeine, the British chancellor and Brexit secretary said that even though the U.K. was leaving the single market and the customs union, it wanted a “strong and close” relationship with Germany and the EU that recognizes “the extraordinary levels of interconnectedness and cooperation that already exist.”
Brexit would be an “exciting new chapter in our history together,” the pair added, calling on the EU and the U.K. to reach a deal on the transition period by the March European Council summit.
Both ministers are in Germany this week, with Hammond due to address Die Welt’s Economic Summit in Berlin later on Wednesday and Davis due to meet officials and the chief executives of major businesses in Munich.
They will advocate a bespoke trading arrangement between the EU and the U.K. — a position at odds with the Brussels’ insistence that the only models for the future relationship are single market membership or a Canada-style free trade agreement, which would do little to reduce barriers to the services trade that is all-important to the British economy.
But in their joint article, Hammond and Davis insisted there were still “important choices to be made” about the U.K.’s relationship with Europe.
“As two of Europe’s biggest economies, it makes no sense to either Germany or Britain to put in place unnecessary barriers to trade in goods and services that would only damage businesses and economic growth on both sides of the Channel,” they said.
A bespoke relationship “should cover the length and breadth of our economies including the service industries — and financial services,” they added, allowing continued “collaboration with the European banking sector” and “intelligent cooperation” between EU and U.K. regulators of both goods and services, with “common principles — including our shared belief in high standards.”
“Brexit will inevitably mean a shift in the way U.K. and European companies do business together,” they concluded. “But with the next set of negotiations just around the corner, a bold, positive and exciting new chapter in our history together awaits.”