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Trade with the EU will not be 'frictionless' post-Brexit, Michael Gove admits

3 min read

Businesses will face more regulations and bureaucracy when trading with the EU after Brexit, Michael Gove has admitted.

The Cabinet minister said the Government could not guarantee trade would be “frictionless” as the UK wants to diverge from some existing Brussels regulation.

He also appeared to blame the European Union for the potential disruption to firms, saying it was because Britain would have to stay signed up to all the rules to avoid it.

His comments came just hours before the UK is set to legally leave the bloc at 11pm on Friday night.

But the signing of the withdrawal agreement is only the first part of the Brexit process, with focus now turning towards securing a long-term free trade deal between the two sides.

Asked if he could guarantee that trade would remain frictionless, Mr Gove told BBC Breakfast: "No.

“We want trade to be as frictionless as possible but the EU is clear that you can only have fully frictionless trade if you accept all their rules, you accept all their laws, you are subordinate to their judges, you are subordinate to their political structures.

"We voted to be independent.

“We want to have as close as possible a relationship with the EU and the approach we want to take is based on the relationship they have with Canada."

He added: "That may mean that when it comes to trading with Europe there are some bureaucratic processes there that aren't there now but we will do everything possible to minimise the friction in terms of our economy."

The minister for the Cabinet Office also said he will be both relieved and delighted when the clock strikes 11pm, saying it “a chance for us, as a country, to come together”.

Asked what the top three changes Brits can expect from life outside the EU, Mr Gove replied: “The first thing is that we will have control of our borders and that means we can decide who comes here, we can safeguard the security of British citizens, and we can also make sure we attract the brightest and the best.

“And we’ve already made clear we’re going to have a much more attractive regime for scientists, mathematicians, technicians, the people who will shape the future.

“And the second thing, related to that, is that we can escape EU laws which have restricted innovation.

“So there are a huge range of areas where we can develop the technologies of the future, which ensure that we can feed the world’s poor, that we can develop the technologies that will enhance all our lives, and will be able to do so without the bureaucracy that the EU imposes.

“And the third thing, which I think is going to be critical as well, is that we are going to use the power of government and the private sector to make sure that those parts of the country that have not benefited properly from economic growth in the past see the benefits coming to them.”

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