Trade secretary Liam Fox yesterday launched Brexit Britain’s bid to become an independent member of the World Trade Organisation.
In a formal statement, the Tory said the Government was “preparing” the groundwork to split from the EU at the 164-member organisation.
He said the UK was preparing a draft schedule of trading commitments – from tariffs to quotas – adding that Britain would seek to “replicate” the current obligations it has as an EU member. Mr Fox said: “This work is a necessary part of our leaving the EU. It does not prejudge the outcome of the eventual UK-EU trading arrangements.”
The Government was immediately accused of driving Britain towards an “economically disastrous” hard Brexit by Lib Dem leader Tim Farron.
He added: “The Liberal Democrats believe that the public should have a say through a vote on the final deal, because departure is not the same as direction.”
Brexit Secretary David Davis and Chancellor Philip Hammond held a joint meeting with City and bank chiefs to “discuss the opportunities” offered by Brexit. The talks followed a flurry of speculation over the weekend that the pair were now working together on Britain’s departure from the EU and had formed a “small clique” in Government.
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