The British Government has admitted that it will need to negotiate a trade deal with the European Union and will not be able to access all the benefits of membership without one.
A paper from the British Council released on Tuesday lays out the details of a comprehensive trade deal that would see the UK become a fully integrated member of the European Economic Area (EEA).
It is the first formal government paper to detail the specifics of the deal and has been widely expected by British businesses and politicians, as it lays out a framework that would allow them to access the benefits that come with membership.
But a separate Government source told The Telegraph that the Government will not do away with the right to trade in the European single market, which has been a cornerstone of Britain’s economic success.
“The Government will maintain that our national interest requires that we remain in the single market and that the single trade agreement we negotiated with the Republic of Ireland should be continued,” the Government source said.
However, he added that the UK will continue to negotiate with the rest of the EU, as long as the terms of its trade deal are respected.
The Government paper, entitled “The UK and the EU: A Comprehensive Trade Agreement”, says that a “comprehensive trade agreement” with the other 27 member states is essential to achieve the UK’s objectives of the “fundamental reform” of the economy, while also addressing the economic challenges posed by the rise of China and the global economic downturn.
According to the paper, the UK is committed to achieving “regulatory harmonisation” and “reform of the regulatory environment”, as well as a “single market for goods and services” with other EU countries.
This is due to the “unanimity of the UK government’s approach to trade policy” and the “continued importance of the single regulatory market for the UK and its partners”, the Government said.
“The UK has always been a nation that wants to build a strong and successful economy that is competitive and secure, and this is one of the fundamental goals of the Brexit process,” the document reads.
Britain has long insisted that it wants to remain a member of either the single European market or the single customs union.
At the heart of the trade agreement will be a deal to reform the EU’s single market rules and set up a new EU customs union, and an agreement to reduce tariffs.
It also proposes to “move towards a more flexible regulatory framework for goods imports and exports”.
The UK will also agree to an “extended transitional period” of two years, with the “option of a longer extension” if the negotiations between the EU and UK are “unbearably protracted”.
It will also seek to ensure that the “extent of the transitional period and the terms and conditions of the agreement” are “comparable to the conditions that apply to a fully negotiated trade deal”.
However the Government sources stressed that it was still too early to make any firm predictions about the shape of the negotiations.
Earlier this year, the Government was forced to concede that it had been too optimistic in its assessment of the political and economic impact of Brexit.
Since the Brexit vote in June, the government has been forced to acknowledge that Brexit has caused economic uncertainty and a loss of jobs, and that this has left the economy “shocked and bruised”.
Labour and the SNP have also warned that the deal will leave the UK with a “lost generation”.
This means that the country will lose an estimated 1.3 million jobs over the next five years, and a number of companies have announced plans to leave the country.
Despite this, Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that Britain will remain a full member of both the single and the European economies, even if it means losing out on access to the single markets.
Labour has warned that a Brexit deal could leave the British economy with a large number of low-paid jobs.
Currently, there are just over 200,000 jobs in the UK manufacturing sector, but Labour argues that this could fall to less than half that number under a Brexit agreement.
Other countries, such as the Netherlands and Canada, have announced similar plans to retain access to their respective markets.