Brexit Party MEP explains ‘sensible’ way UK can still trade with the EU after no deal
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the European Union by October 31 “do or die”, with or without a deal. And the European Union warned earlier this week that Britain was heading for a no deal Brexit, as the issue of the Irish border is still unlikely to unlock a deal just six weeks before Britain is due to leave. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Mr Johnson had told him on Monday that London still wanted a deal, but time was now running out.
He said in Strasbourg: “There is very little time left. The risk of a no deal is very real.”
Rupert Lowe, Brexit Party MEP for the West Midlands, held a meeting with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier this week.
He argued the UK will still be able to trade with the EU even if there is no deal by next month’s deadline through Article 24 of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) treaty, otherwise known as GATT 24.
Without a withdrawal agreement, the UK and the EU will trade with each other under the rules-based trading system of the WTO.
This means the end of tariff-free trade between the UK and the EU.
But under GATT 24, there could be an interim agreement so that while the UK and EU negotiated a free trade agreement, they could maintain the existing arrangements with the EU for 10 years.
Mr Lowe told Express.co.uk: “With the positions of both sides so entrenched it is clear that a deal is not within reach. I encouraged Barnier and his team to seriously consider Lorand Bartels’ advice on WTO Article 24 and the possibility of a “standstill” agreement on trade in the event of “no deal”.
“This is the sensible move. It allows us to continue trade with our European friends on the same basis as we do now until a more comprehensive Free Trade Agreement can be reached.
“According to his team this had been discussed with the British Government, however for Barnier and the EU the main concern is the protection of the ‘Single Market’ and they view that approach as unworkable.
“In the event of a ‘no deal’ I did warn Mr Barnier that the UK, with the right leadership, would pursue a low-tax, low-regulation economy which would blow the EU central planners out of the water.
“This is something Angela Merkel and others have warned against and it is a card we must be willing to play.”
Finnish media reported this week that Prime Minister Antti Rinne and French President Emmanuel Macron had agreed an end-September deadline for Mr Johnson to present Europe with a concrete proposal to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
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A source said this had been the message already put forward by Mr Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month.
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg expressed his confidence in Mr Johnson achieving a deal by this date.
Speaking at a Telegraph event, Mr Rees-Mogg said of Mr Johnson’s Brexit efforts: “I’m very, very confident the Prime Minister will deliver a deal that is fundamentally different if he can deliver before October 31.”
Mr Rees-Mogg also said the Government has to “listen very carefully to what the DUP say”.
Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan also said she would stay in her post even if a no-deal Brexit looks the most likely outcome by the end of next month.
Ms Morgan, asked if she was prepared to stay in the Cabinet if it is clear Mr Johnson is taking the UK out of the EU with no deal on October 31, told ITV’s Peston: “Correct.”
She added: “At the end of the day I’ve been working with all my Cabinet colleagues across the summer on no-deal preparations.
“We are more prepared than people think we are, but there was always going to be more to do.
“But I’d much prefer, and the Prime Minister would much prefer, to have a deal.”
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