Level Playing Field anyone?

The government is talking tough about being able to set its own laws and appears to be moving away from any agreement on a “level playing field” – i.e. common rules and standards with the EU. For example here is our chief Brexit negotiator David Frost speaking in Brussels this week :

“It is central to our vision that we must have the ability to set laws that suit us – to claim the right that every other non-EU country in the world has.

“So to think that we might accept EU supervision on so-called level playing field issues simply fails to see the point of what we are doing.”

Its not surprising that the EU is looking worried about whether the UK can be trusted. Our current position appears to simply igore what we signed up to in the political declaration that accompanied Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement – here is paragraph 77 of that document –

“77 Given the Union and the United Kingdom’s geographic proximity and economic interdependence, the future relationship must ensure open and fair competition, encompassing robust commitments to ensure a level playing field. The precise nature of commitments should be commensurate with the scope and depth of the future relationship and the economic connectedness of the Parties. These commitments should prevent distortions of trade and unfair competitive advantages. To that end, the Parties should uphold the common high standards applicable in the Union and the United Kingdom at the end of the transition period in the areas of state aid, competition, social and employment standards, environment, climate change, and relevant tax matters. The Parties should in particular maintain a robust and comprehensive framework for competition and state aid control that prevents undue distortion of trade and competition; commit to the principles of good governance in the area of taxation and to the curbing of harmful tax practices; and maintain environmental, social and employment standards at the current high levels provided by the existing common standards. In so doing, they should rely on appropriate and relevant Union and international standards, and include appropriate mechanisms to ensure effective implementation domestically, enforcement and dispute settlement. The future relationship should also promote adherence to and effective implementation of relevant internationally agreed principles and rules in these domains, including the Paris Agreement”.

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