Chancellor moves to reassure businesses on EU alignment

Published by Scott Challinor on January 25th 2020, 7:00am

Chancellor Sajid Javid has told business leaders in Davos that the UK will only seek to diverge from EU rules after Brexit where it is "in the interests of British business" to do so.

Prior to the weekend, Javid was responding to questions at the World Economic Forum concerning his recent interview with the Financial Times, where he said that there will be “no alignment” and that the UK “will not be a rule taker” after Brexit.

Business leaders had previously believed that the UK would remain aligned with European regulations and standards where required to help preserve frictionless trade with the continent, but Javid's words as reported in the FT seemed to pour cold water on the idea.

Offering clarification during a lunch with business leaders, Javid said that although the UK will not be a rule taker, it will not seek to diverge from EU rules purely "for the sake of divergence".

Javid said: “It’s not in our interest to be a rule-taker...we want to be very clear about that.

"That doesn’t mean that we will diverge on rules just for the sake of divergence. That would be a complete nonsense.”

CBI boss Carolyn Fairbairn told the BBC in response: "It's good to have clarification that in terms of divergence from the EU, that will be when it is in the economic interests of the country. It is not an obligation, it's a right we can use if we need to use it.”

Elsewhere at the forum, the US treasury secretary has reportedly hinted that a US-UK trade deal could be finalised this year.

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