Britain will “maintain continuity” with European Union rules during the post-Brexit transition period, the Chancellor, Brexit Secretary and Business Secretary have said in an open letter to businesses.
In a show of unity following Cabinet rifts over Brexit, Philip Hammond, David Davis and Greg Clark said firms should not worry that they will have to operate outside the “existing structure of EU rules and regulations” during what they term an “implementation period” of about two years.
EU laws will remain “common to both parties” during the transition to start after formal withdrawal in March 2019, so firms only have to adapt to one set of rule changes at the end of the implementation period.
It comes after Mr Davis said he will seek the establishment of an “appropriate process” for the UK to object to any new laws introduced during transition in a bid to allay Brexiteer concerns over having to follow EU rules without having any say in drawing them up.
In the letter, the trio of senior ministers said maintaining continuity of rules will require the EU and UK to “act in good faith” and reflect “the spirit of our future partnership”.
The ministers said their intention is to “mimic the breadth of our current arrangements, from goods to agriculture to financial services, meaning that every business, small or large, will be able to go on trading with the EU as it does today until it’s time to make any changes necessary for the future partnership”.
The UK will also work with the EU to ensure Britain is covered by more than 750 international agreements, including trade deals, signed between Brussels and countries outside the union.
EU citizens will also be free to “live and work” in the UK during the implementation period of “around two years” and have “no new barriers to taking up employment”, except having to register with the authorities.
“This will not place any new burdens on businesses during the implementation period,” they added.