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Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan: What ‘Super Canada’ means

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Boris Johnson has suggested an alternative to Theresa May’s Chequers plan in the form of a “Super Canada” free trade deal.

The leading Brexiteer launched a blistering attack on the prime minister’s plan, calling it “a moral and intellectual humiliation for this country”.

In a column for the Telegraph, entitled “My plan for a better Brexit”, he set out his alternative vision which he said would put the UK back on a level footing after the EU rejected the Chequers proposal on 20 September.

Mr Johnson based his proposals for the UK’s future relationship with the EU on Canada’s current trade deal with the bloc.

Here are his plans in full:

:: No tariffs or quotas on all imports and exports between the UK and EU members.

:: Mutual Recognition Agreements for goods because the UK and the EU both “want high standards, and we will insist on proper protections for consumers”.

:: Use technology to ensure supply chains continue to operate smoothly and efficiently, but with customs controls.

:: Procurement should be over and above the provisions of the WTO’s agreement to allow the UK to operate a more flexible arrangement than the EU’s current procurement rules.

There should be provisions for close collaboration on competition and state aid rules – but not as far as the Chequers plan, which enforces EU rules on state aids.

:: Extensive provisions on services with an assumption that all service sectors are opened up except those on a specific list..

He said there should be “the maximum possible mutual recognition of qualifications”.

:: UK data is recognised as “equivalent” to the EU’s, as it is now.

Participants of the EU Informal Summit of Heads of State or Government in Salzburg Austria attend a dinner at the Felsenreitschule on September 19, 2018. (Photo by GEORG HOCHMUTH / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT (Photo credit should read GEORG HOCHMUTH/AFP/Getty Images)
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The EU summit rejected Mrs May’s Chequers plan

:: Provisions to negotiate membership of the EU’s aviation area and to accept appropriate obligations. Mr Johnson said this should be “relatively straightforward given the vast UK market”.

:: A process for recognising each other’s rules as equivalent.

:: A dispute settlement mechanism for managing any regulatory divergence over time, which should take place as legal equals so “neither side’s institutions have power over the other’s”.

:: A compromise on cooperation between the UK and the EU on security, counter-terrorism, foreign policy and defence.

Mr Johnson said “with care” this does not need to involve the European Court of Justice.

:: Irish border: Mr Johnson said there does not need to be a physical border for the EU to ensure “the integrity of the single market”.

He admitted there will need to be some extra procedures, but they can be carried out away from the border “as they are, very largely, today”.

And he said arrangements can be made to ensure the border works practically and businesses can use it smoothly and without hassle.

How could these plans happen?

:: Mr Johnson said the government needs to “chuck Chequers”.

:: Tell “our EU friends” the Irish “backstop” arrangement is no longer acceptable.

A different withdrawal agreement would need to be drawn up, stating that the Irish border question will be settled as part of a deal on economic arrangements and both sides are committed to avoiding a hard border.

:: A political declaration by early 2019 which sets out the intention of both sides to negotiate a Super Canada-type agreement – not a “blind Brexit”.

Boris Johnson jogs near his home in Oxfordshire
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Boris Johnson jogs near his home in Oxfordshire

:: The UK would invest in the appropriate technology, people and infrastructure to operate a trade and immigration policy, and to leave the customs union.

:: Britain needs to face the possibility that an agreement will not be made by March, or a Super Canada free trade agreement by 2020, the former foreign secretary said.

He added that work needs to be speeded up to prepare for a breakdown in talks, instead of “peddling endless propaganda about the chaos of ‘no deal'”.

:: The UK needs to show it is “energised” by the prospect of leaving the UK by beginning free trade agreements as soon as possible after March next year.

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