Brexit Secretary David Davis has said the UK can have a “Canada plus plus plus” trade deal with the EU after Brexit. He said the deal would involve “Canada plus the best of Japan, the best of South Korea and that the bit that is missing, which is the services”.
His words come as non-EU countries are reported to have told the EU that the UK should not be given a trade agreement that is favourable to other “third countries”. No non-EU member state has negotiated trade terms with the EU that extends to services, particularly financial services.
Asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr about the kind of deal the UK would seek with the EU the Brexit Secretary said: “Canada plus plus plus would be one way of putting it.”
Mr Davis said that the agreement that was reached on Friday over the first phase of the negotiations meant that “the odds of a WTO, no-deal outcome have dropped dramatically”.
He said a deal with the European Union could be signed “the minute after” the UK formally leaves the EU in March 2019. EU officials have cautioned the process is likely to take years.
The Brexit Secretary confirmed the so-called “divorce settlement” with the EU would total £35bn to £39bn, as has been reported, but described the deal as a “statement of intent” and was not legally enforceable.
If the UK failed to agree a trade deal with the EU it would not be compelled to hand over the money.
The comments appeared to contradict those of Chancellor Philip Hammond, who has said it would be “inconceivable” the UK would fail to honour its international obligations.
Asked about Mr Hammond’s comments regarding the exit payment, Mr Davis said: “No. It is conditional on an outcome. I am afraid that wasn’t quite right.
“It is conditional. It is conditional on getting an implementation period. Conditional on a trade outcome.
“No deal means that we won’t be paying the money.”
Asked if the Chancellor was wrong, Mr Davis said: “It has been made clear by No 10 already. So that’s not actually new.”
The Brexit Secretary also said the UK was committed to keeping a “frictionless and invisible” Irish border and would “find a way” to do this if there was a no-deal Brexit.
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