Trade secretary Liam Fox said this morning that the UK should be a rule-maker, and not a rule-taker, after it leaves the European Union.
Fox and his cabinet colleagues have been finalising the government’s Brexit position this week ahead of the UK’s negotiations with the EU on a future trade agreement.
Read more: Keir Starmer says UK shouldn’t negotiate its own trade deals after Brexit
On the BBC’s Andrew Marr show this morning, Fox said that UK must be free to orientate itself towards deals with non-EU countries after Brexit.
“The key thing about a customs union is that it puts a big frontier around Europe,” he said. “I want the United Kingdom to make its own decisions… We want to be rule-makers in our own country, and not rule-takers.”
His comments were in contrast to those made by Keir Starmer, shadow Brexit secretary, who said the UK should be partnering with the EU to negotiate new trade deals.
Starmer said there was no evidence to suggest that the UK would be in a better position if it negotiated trade deals on its own.
Speaking about the transition agreement the UK hopes to secure with the EU, Fox said the UK should be able to negotiate and sign new trade deals after March 2019. However, he said the UK would not implement new trade agreements until after the transition period.