Brexit minister David Davis said on Tuesday Britain and the European Union could reach a deal to access each others’ markets and promised his government would not use Brexit to cut regulation, despite past threats to do so.
In the latest of several speeches by ministers intended to lay out Britain’s plans for Brexit, Davis told business leaders in Austria that fears the government will plunge Britain into a “Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction” after leaving the EU are unfounded.
Instead, he proposed a system of “mutual recognition” where both sides agree common regulatory outcomes, such as consumer protection or financial stability, but are able to pursue their own policies to reach those goals.
“This will be a crucial part of ensuring our future economic partnership is as open, and trade remains as frictionless, as possible,” Davis said.
“Britain’s plan, its blueprint for life outside of Europe, is a race to the top in global standards, not a regression from the high standards we have now.”
His comments are designed to allay European politicians’ concerns that Britain could cut taxes and regulation to attract global businesses.
Since Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016, supporters of Brexit have argued that removing the costs imposed by EU rules would be one of the main benefits.
Davis’s speech comes as the EU is formulating its approach to the next stage of the Brexit negotiations and ahead of a crucial cabinet meeting on Thursday to decide on Britain’s negotiating strategy.