Global Britain - A Country That Works For Everyone

Author:Mr Geoff Cook
Profession:Jersey Finance Limited

The UK policy template begins to form. Theresa May has used her first Conservative Party Conference as leader to bring much needed clarity on her Brexit plans.

Pivoting from a European to a Global orientation she promoted self-determination through free trade, sovereign law-making and taking back control of UK borders.

Acknowledging obligations to the EU she promised rigour without tarrying, and will trigger Article 50 by March 2017 at the latest. A 'Great Repeal' bill will pave the way, protecting existing rights in full, with any future roll back of regulation on a case by case basis. She was emphatic in her commitment to protect workers' rights.

A unique agreement

Her opening Brexit gambit was to define any new agreement as precisely that, new and unique. She affirmed a strong commitment to 'open' markets, promoting peace and prosperity, and hinted at the EU's need of Britain in defence.

The coming period will be used to thrash out objectives and goals with a growing confidence in negotiating as an independent country. She went on to strongly affirm her Unionist credentials and respect for Parliament, in the context of a determination to govern and to lead.

Brexit will not be defined by an historic EU relationship, but by placing the EU in the context of Britain's future as a fully independent and sovereign country.

Any deal will encourage close cooperation arrangements around law enforcement, counter terrorism and free trade, but not at any price.

Recent business deals and trade overtures from Canada, China and Singapore were all cited, and the PM announced that talks with Australia and New Zealand are already underway.

The speech certainly addressed Brexiteer worries about rowing back from the referendum result, but did not signal a clear negotiating position, leaving delegates still guessing.

Will the deal be tariff free, a take it or leave it agreement, or something much more nuanced. Clearly freedom of movement must feature in some way given its status as a major pillar of the Lisbon treaty.

So what might a Brexit negotiation look like?

Some clues have been given - the starting position implied points to a "Free Enterprise Brexit", a unilateral declaration of Free Trade intent. This wouldn't affect services which are generally free of tariffs but would affect taxes on imports if the free trade offer was not immediately reciprocated. In other words, we won't tax you, but don't tax us.

Sceptics may characterise this as hubris, but...

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