Rushing a post-Brexit trade deal to meet the end-of-year deadline will require major sacrifices to be made and will leave businesses with just weeks to adapt to the new trading terms, a new report claims.
The Institute for Government believes Boris Johnson and team will have to accept only “a narrow agreement” can be reached in order to secure a deal before transition ends in December 2020, meaning services is unlikely to be covered in time.
Downing Street has insisted that it will not extend the transition period beyond 2020, going so far as to enshrine the date in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which reaches the Lords today.
But if Johnson persists in this, the time for negotiation will limit the scope of any agreement to a goods-only free trade agreement, the IfG argues.
“Every EU member state will have a vote and veto over the deal – which will make negotiations more complicated for the UK. Johnson may have to choose between making major concessions to the EU or walking away without a deal,” the think tank argues.
On top of that, UK business could be given just weeks to adjust to the details of the future UK–EU relationship. Meanwhile implementing the Northern Irish Protocol – which caused so many headaches during the first phase of Brexit talks “looks all but impossible” in the allotted time-frame.
The government also needs to pass at least six pieces of legislation to establish new UK policies for agriculture, fisheries and immigration.
Joe Owen, Institute for Government programme director, said: “If the government’s priority is speed, it will need to make some important sacrifices – on the level of ambition in any deal and the time for both government and businesses to adapt to it.
“The end of the transition marks the point at which the country will need to undertake a major change – rushing it will cause disruption.”
Main image: Getty