Brexit saga continues as UK and EU set to negotiate ‘New Zealand-style agreement’

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Downing Street has confirmed Brexit negotiations with the EU will start up again this week, with talks on financial services. After months of wrangling, new rules for trade were finally agreed on Christmas Eve, just days before the end of year deadline. But in a document spanning over 1,200 pages, there was little mention of financial services: a sector which accounts for seven percent of the UK’s economy and 10 percent of its tax receipts.

Negotiations are starting up with the hope of a “memorandum of understanding” in place by the end of March.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Treasury has been in contact with the EU on it and the discussions are starting this week at an official level.”

Outlining the UK’s aims for the talks, the Prime Minister’s spokesman added: “We want to preserve financial stability, market integrity, and the protection of investors and consumers.

“We did push for a broad agreement on financial services as part of the negotiations and the Treasury will continue that work with the Commission beginning this week.

“The joint declaration was clear, we are aiming to agree a memorandum of understanding by March.”

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The agreement will seek to ensure the two sides continue to have similar regulations going forwards that mean similar standards are upheld both in Britain and on the continent.

Financial services are not the only sector that the EU and Britain have to hold further negotiations on, though.

As it stands, New Zealand appears to have a closer relationship on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) with the EU than Britain, with an agreement that limits checks and simplifies paperwork.

Government trade adviser Shanker Singham told Express.co.uk: “New Zealand and the EU have a veterinary agreement on meat products, which is actually a very good agreement.

“It is a mutual recognition agreement of underlying product regulation.

“So, even though New Zealand and the EU have different SPS regimes for meat, they recognise each other’s underlying product regulation.”

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Mr Singham, the CEO of economic consultancy Competere, noted: “So much for the view that the EU doesn’t do mutual recognition, it does.”

According to the trade expert, there is no reason why Britain cannot have the same agreement with the EU.

He added: “If you do that with New Zealand, which has got a different SPS regime, why would you not do that with the UK, which at the moment has got the same?

“Pretty absurd the EU did not put that in… it’s a very political move and it made no sense.

“But anyway, we will be negotiating such a thing in the future.

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“We have a roadmap.

“So it will be quite easy for us to negotiate a similar agreement.”

New Zealand is recognised worldwide as a reliable SPS partner.

The New Zealand veterinary agreement, signed in 1996, provides for the recognition of the legislative controls applied to animal diseases by trading partners.

This reduces the compliance costs of New Zealand industry meeting requirements such as animal health certification assurances, and contributes to improved market access for New Zealand products to Europe.

It also recognises New Zealand meat and dairy inspection systems as equivalent.

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