‘What is the point of a Canada trade deal without tariffs?! Angry cabinet row explained

GB News: Row between Jacob Rees Mogg and Trevelyan pulled apart

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In an unusual move by Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister has asked his Government to offer ideas in a Dragon’s Den style of how to ease the cost of living crisis. Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested earlier this week that tariffs on imported food goods should be unilaterally cut, which would make food shopping cheaper for the public. But international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan expressed concern that this would weaken Britain’s negotiating powers with the likes of Canada, who might refuse to pay tariffs when the Government has removed them for other countries.

Explaining the dispute, Mr Harwood told GB News: “There have been some suggestions that have been free. 

“For example, Jacob Rees-Mogg is suggesting that the UK takes off tariffs from items that we do not make here in Britain. 

“Now, that’s a Brexit freedom, we could not do that within the European Union, we can do that with trade outside the EU.” 

GB News Breakfast co-host Isabel Webster then asks: “Aren’t the traders opposed to that, though? What’s the point of a Canada trade deal if we then remove the tariffs?” 

Mr Harwood said: “Well, this is the argument. Some would say that a free trade agreement is much more than about tariffs. 

“If it was only about tariffs, no-one would mind about the Trade and Cooperation Agreement that is zero quota, zero tariff. There are still some frictions there because of the regulatory differences. 

“So modern trade deals are very much more about that regulatory difference, although clearly still about tariffs in some areas, as well. 

“So, yes, there was a disagreement there between Jacob Rees-Mogg and Anne-Marie Trevelyan.”

After the price of groceries skyrocketed 5.9 percent last year, Mr Rees-Mogg proposed a unilateral cut of tariffs on food imports. 

The measure, which would cover items such as oranges and rice, food stuffs primarily made outside the UK, is believed to be under consideration by the PM and Chancellor Rishi Sunak. 

Mr Rees-Mogg argued that Britain should take advantage of its newfound freedom post-Brexit to pursue its own trade policy. 

But Ms Trevelyan countered that this would weaken its negotiating power and end up costing the Government hundred of millions of pounds in the long run. 

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Britain and Canada launched trade talks to replace the EU-Canada deal that was rolled over for the UK after its exit from the Union. 

But Sam Lowe, director of trade at the consultancy Flint Global, claimed that Canada walked out of first-round talks because of tariff-free suggestions. 

He said that Canada asked: “Why would we pay for something you’re giving to everyone else for free?” 

The talks have now drifted into regulatory issues, with Canada demanding earlier this month that Britain suspend its ban on hormone-treated beef. 

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