Johnson says the UK will have to start using muscles it has not used for decades to start negotiating free trade deals.
He says Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, tells him she has enough trade negotiators. But if she doesn’t, they will hire some more, he says.
Johnson says he wants UK to make global case for free trade
Johnson quotes Richard Cobden as saying free trade is “God’s diplomacy”.
He says nothing else has done as much to guarantee prosperity.
But this “beneficial magic” is fading, he says. He says free trade is being choked.
He says in Washington tariffs are being waved around like cudgels. And there is a proliferation of non-tariff barriers.
Trade used to grow at twice the rate of GDP. But now it barely keeps pace, he says.
He says we are starting to hear “some bizarre, autarkic rhetoric”.
So the UK needs to make the case for free trade, he says.
Boris Johnson’s speech on Brexit trade deal
Michel Barnier is still speaking, but I’m switching now to Boris Johnson, who has just started his speech on the proposed Brexit trade deal.
He says this is a moment for the UK to re-emerge as a campaigner for free trade.
Q: Do you think the British are acting in bad faith?
Barnier says it is not for him to say what the UK will do. But he should not underestimate the scale of what will happen.
He says the EU should continue to prepare for all options, including no deal.
Barnier turns to Gibraltar.
He says this deal will not cover Gibraltar. But that does not rule out parallel negotiations covering Gibraltar.
This is what the guidelines say on Gibraltar.
Barnier says he has a lot of respect for Boris Johnson. He has a frank relationship with him.
He will not make a judgment about his intentions. (He is responding to a question about the possibility of the UK walking away from the talks.)
He says Johnson and his team paid a lot of attention “to every word and comma” of the political declaration. That is relevant to what he said a moment ago about the level playing field, he says. (See 10.51am.)
Q: Having the ECJ police any deal is a red line for the UK. Why is it so important for the EU for it to play a role? It is not in the Canada deal.
Barnier says the deal the EU has in mind will not just be about trade. It will cover security too. If the EU works with the UK on security, there will have to be provisions for the exchange of data, often very personal data. He says the Prüm system relates to DNA data. He says that is why the ECJ is so important.
Q: Tony Blair talked in an interview about how divergence could be a good thing. Do you think the EU could benefit from the UK diverging?
Barnier says he read the Blair interview. He always pays attention to what Blair says, he says.
There may be some areas where the EU will allow divergence, he says.
But given the concerns expressed by the public, and the anger, “is this really the time to drive things down”, to lower standards? Barnier says he does not think so.
He says agriculture and fisheries products could enter the EU without tariffs under a deal. So the EU will want to ensure competition is fair.
Barnier says EU will be ‘very demanding’ in setting level playing field conditions
Barnier is now taking questions.
Q: Can you say more about how you would like to see the UK remain aligned to EU rules. And is a Canada-style deal your goal?
Barnier says this has never been before.
Barnier says every FTA (free trade agreement) contains rights and obligations. They are not all the same.
He says an FTA is the objective. “Where there is a will, there’s a way.” But the UK is constrained by the decision, “if it is confirmed”, to leave the customs union and single market by the end of the year.
(It is interesting that Barnier still seems to think this is in doubt. Boris Johnson has been adamant that the UK is leaving the single market and the customs union.)
He says every FTA model is different.
He says there should be no surprise on the British side about the demand for level playing field conditions. The political declaration (pdf) is quite clear about this, he says.
Barnier refers to some of the language in paragraph 77. He does not read the whole thing out, but for the record this is what it says.
Given the Union and the United Kingdom’s geographic proximity and economic interdependence, the future relationship must ensure open and fair competition, encompassing robust commitments to ensure a level playing field. The precise nature of commitments should be commensurate with the scope and depth of the future relationship and the economic connectedness of the parties. These commitments should prevent distortions of trade and unfair competitive advantages. To that end, the Parties should uphold the common high standards applicable in the Union and the United Kingdom at the end of the transition period in the areas of state aid, competition, social and employment standards, environment, climate change, and relevant tax matters.
He says the detail of the mechanism for a level playing field will be discussed in the negotiation.
But the EU will be “very demanding” in this area. He says a level playing field will be “the key” to opening up the EU market.
The Times’s Steven Swinford has flagged up what the EU document says about fishing, which will probably be an early flashpoint in the talks.