U.K. Won’t Publish Assessment of EU Trade Deal as Red Tape Hits

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The U.K. government won’t publish an impact assessment of its trade accord with the European Union despite producing similar reviews of other major trade deals it has signed.

“We’ve set out the detail of the deal, and the opportunities and benefits it provides the U.K.,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman Jamie Davies said on a call with reporters on Tuesday, when repeatedly asked if the government would publish a formal assessment. “We’ve been clear it’s a good deal, which allows us to maintain access to the EU market.”

Britain’s trade with the EU has been hit by higher costs, delayed shipments and reduced freight volumes since the new economic relationship started on Jan. 1, with businesses feeling the effects of new red tape and customs processes.

In November, the Office for Budget Responsibility, the U.K.’s spending watchdog, said a free-trade deal with the EU would leave Britain’s gross domestic product 4% lower over the long run, compared with staying in the bloc. But that was before the deal was agreed.

Impact assessments are common pieces of government work that determine the economic effects of policies. In October, Britain published such a review of its new trade accord with Japan, which replaced an existing deal the country had through its membership of the EU.

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