There is no question that the UK will lose some access to the EU market after Brexit, according to trade expert Allie Renison.
Ms Rension, who is head of Europe and trade policy at the Institute of Directors, made the remarks at the Agribusiness Conference in Peterborough this week.
Farming organisations have repeatedly called for ‘unfettered access’ to the single market as part of any future trade arrangement with the EU, but Ms Renison suggested this would be impossible – even if a unique EU-UK agreement was drawn up.
She said: “There are two areas which really matter in terms of your trade arrangement with the EU for making sure you have good-quality access.
“I would not say untrammelled access, because using the current starting point, there is going to be some loss of market access – the question is how much.
“This [good-quality access] will rest on some very close regulatory co-operation, unprecedented in scale under any other trade agreement.
“It is easier because we are starting from the point of total uniformity, but because it has never been done in a trade agreement before, we will need to figure out, for example, whether we still want to participate in some key regulatory bodies so we do not have to set up our own.
“Then we have to decide how to deal with tariff issues, which matter from a customs union perspective, and non-tariff regulatory issues.”
Ms Renison went on to say there were no trade deals currently in operation which could form a suitable template for a future EU-UK relationship.
“Any normal trade agreement, whether from the EU or any other part of the world, is nowhere near what we need between the EU and the UK”, she added.
“I would say three-quarters of what those trade agreements tend to do is bridge divergent areas of policy.
“This is about starting from a position of equivalence and saying ‘how do we manage whether the UK wants to do things differently and how do we have trust in your systems to do this’.”