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Boris Johnson: UK will not undercut EU competition rules

LONDON — Boris Johnson insisted the U.K. will not engage in a “race to the bottom” on competition st..

LONDON — Boris Johnson insisted the U.K. will not engage in a “race to the bottom” on competition standards after Brexit.

In a speech at the grand painted hall of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, the U.K. prime minister said he wants to “reassure” Brussels over fears Britain will undercut the EU on working rights, environmental standards and state aid.

“We will not engage in some cut-throat race to the bottom,” he told an audience of ambassadors and business leaders about the trade deal he hopes to strike with the bloc and other nations around the world. “We are not leaving the EU to undermine European standards, we will not engage in any kind of dumping, whether commercial, or social, or environmental.”

But Johnson refused outright to sign up to so-called level playing field rules that govern competition standards across the bloc. “There is no need for a free-trade agreement to involve accepting EU rules on competition policy, subsidies, social protection, the environment, or anything similar, any more than the EU should be obliged to accept U.K. rules.”

However, a spokesman for the prime minster later suggested an agreement on competition rules is possible — but would not require the two sides writing any such agreements into law. The government also published a rough list of its negotiating objectives.

Johnson insisted the U.K. wants to negotiate fishing quotas on an annual basis.

The spokesman suggested the outcome could mirror the EU deal with Canada, which specifically notes that EU and Canadian working rights and environmental protections are integrated into the deal. The Canada deal also created a level playing field over intellectual property rights and strengthened copyright protections.

In his speech, Johnson pitched directly for a Canada-style free-trade agreement with the bloc — although he insisted that if the EU was not willing to sign up to agreement without level playing field rules, the U.K. couRead More – Source