British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet has agreed to a negotiating mandate for talks with Brussels on post-Brexit trade.
The British approach will “restore economic and political independence” and be based on existing free-trade agreements between the EU and “like-minded sovereign nations,” Downing Street says.
Britain will leave the EU single market and customs union and “take back control of our own laws and our own trade,” it says.
“The UK’s primary objective in the negotiations is to ensure that we restore our economic and political independence on Jan.1, 2021.”
The government is expected to publish details of the plan on Thursday.
Similarly, the EU and Britain are to start their negotiations on the future trade relationship next week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says.
“Mandate approved. Ready to go. Negotiations with the UK will begin the week of 2nd March,” von der Leyen writes on Twitter.
The bloc’s executive is responsible for negotiating EU trade deals with third countries.
“We are determined to reach a deal that protects EU interests,” EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says in a statement.
“While von der Leyen stresses that a “close, ambitious partnership” is in the best interest of people on both sides of the English Channel.