It’s going to be a busy summer for Ministers, Trade Commissioners and Trade Envoys as new trading relationships are forged and old ones redefined as we leave the EU.
Brexit Minister, David Davis, will have his work cut out in a gruelling series of meetings and document exchanges and, no doubt, responding to various leaks and briefings by those seeking to gain the upper hand.
The groundwork to support his efforts is in place. First, the people voted to leave the EU in the referendum. Second, Parliament voted to empower the Government to trigger Article 50. Third, the Prime Minister gave notice to the EU that we are leaving. Now the Repeal Bill has been published and will repeal the European Communities Act and ensure that control of our laws returns to the UK.
We will also see supplementary legislation to control immigration, set up a new customs system and continue with our international obligations.
Taken together these steps form a comprehensive plan for Britain’s future. The next round of talks, led by David Davis, will get deep into the substance of what needs to be agreed in a mutually beneficial way.
I am particularly pleased that the rights of British and EU citizens is the first priority, so that people can quickly get the re-assurance they need to plan for their futures. The idea that post-Brexit Britain would shun the EU citizens was always a bogus argument and it’s good to see the fears being laid to rest.
Above all, I’m delighted that we have a re-invigorated outward-looking approach to international trade. As the Prime Minister’s trade to Ghana, and having visited other parts of West Africa, it is quite clear to me that our friends abroad are crying out for closer trade a diplomatic relations with the UK.
With Brexit underway, we are now in a position to begin to satisfy the demand for UK investment, goods, services and expertise overseas. We are also able to champion free-trade arrangements from the US to Africa, Asia and Australia and the mutually beneficial boost to jobs and prosperity they bring.
Clearly there will be bumps in the road and an undulating running commentary before a final exit deal is agreed. But I am confident that the Government has the right plan for an internationalist and outward facing Britain and a mutually beneficial deal with our EU friends.