MIDDLESBROUGH, England — The U.K. wants to continue benefitting from the EU’s free-trade agreements with other countries during the post-Brexit transition, and will seek an “appropriate process for this temporary period” to ensure it still has a say in any rule changes that affect its interests during that time, Brexit Secretary David Davis said.
In a speech on the transition period in Middlesbrough, Davis also called for the U.K. to remain a part of the EU’s security arrangements during the transition.
Calling the transition “a bridge” to Brexit, Davis said he is “confident” an agreement could be reached by the March European Council summit.
Addressing criticisms from Conservative Brexiteer MPs in recent days, Davis said he knew many questioned why a transition was needed, but insisted it was in the interests of economic stability and would enable the U.K. to sign a new trade agreement with the EU as a third country, rather than as a member — something he said EU law required.
Asked to comment on Chancellor Philip Hammond’s insistence that the U.K.-EU economic relationship would change only “modestly” after Brexit, Davis declined to criticize his Cabinet colleague, adding that Hammond had clarified that the U.K. and the EU would be leaving the single market and the customs union.
He added there should be “very little difference between the standards and regulations” in the U.K. and the EU immediately after Brexit.