BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - A Canada-style Brexit deal with the European Union would make things harder for businesses by creating friction at the border, business minister Greg Clark said on Sunday.
His remarks come down on the side of Prime Minister Theresa May in the debate dominating the fractious opening day of her Conservative Party annual conference — defining the best model for Britain’s future relationship with the EU.
Advocates of a more radical departure from the EU, led by potential leadership challenger Boris Johnson, want Britain to seek a deal based around the recent Canada-EU trade deal and which drops the government plan to apply EU regulations on trade.
But Clark, backing May’s so-called Chequers plan which calls for a ‘common rule book’ on trade, told an event that Britain was doing everything it could to allow international supply chains to flourish as it leaves the EU.
“One of the problems of the Canada model - the free trade agreement of that sort - is that it requires frictions at the border,” Clark said at the Huffington Post event.
He said it would set back national competitiveness and that it was no surprise that other countries were looking to snatch business away from Britain ahead of Brexit.
He was however confident of a deal that would allow the country to keep attracting manufacturing investment.
Reporting by William James, writing by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Andrew MacAskill/Keith Weir