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[Day 2]

Part of Burma – in the House of Commons at 1:14 pm on 15th March 2018.

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Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General 1:14 pm, 15th March 2018

I reassure the hon. Gentleman that it is an absolute priority for the Government to ensure the consistency and continuity of the existing arrangements as they pertain between the European Union and other countries. I see no reason why we should not benefit from those arrangements, just as those countries will indeed benefit from arrangements with us as we go forward.

We have proposed practical solutions to help deliver a smooth departure from the EU. One such solution is the introduction of a joint committee to resolve issues or disputes that may arise during the implementation period. That approach is a common feature of international trade agreements. The joint committee would, for example, allow the UK to raise concerns regarding new laws that might be harmful to our national interest. We will also continue to discuss our involvement in relevant bodies as a third country during the period to ensure that EU rules and regulations continue to operate coherently.

It is in the interests of both the UK and EU to agree the precise terms of the implementation period as quickly as possible. We are close to delivering that, and we expect it to be formalised at the European Council meeting next week. The implementation period is key to forging the best possible future relationship, giving businesses and Government the time and certainty to plan for Brexit, and preparing the UK for its status as an independent trading nation. It will be a bridge from where we are now to where we want to be in the future—on exit, on day one, and beyond.

Looking further forward, it is crucial that talks progress so that we can agree the terms of our future relationship with the EU. We are now moving at pace to set the parameters of an economic partnership. As a Treasury Minister, I am particularly focused on how our economies will interact and grow together. As the Prime Minister said in her speech on 2 March, the UK is seeking the broadest and deepest possible agreement that covers more sectors and co-operates more fully than any other free trade agreement. A key component of any future agreement should be the inclusion of services, particularly financial services.