Davis Says Immigration Policy Won't Hurt Business: Brexit Update

(Bloomberg) -- Brexit Secretary David Davis spoke at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in London on Thursday, taking questions on the progress of talks with the European Union at a time when there’s no sign of any formal negotiations on what the post-Brexit trading relationship will look like.

Davis said he wants the substance of the future relationship nailed down by October, but acknowledged that the deal “won’t be in legal form at that point.” He also said the U.K. is seeking a customs deal with no precedent with the EU. Eurasia Group now reckons the U.K. will end up staying in a customs union with the bloc, a view that chimes with what parts of the government want.

Progress With African Nations on Post-Brexit Trade (12:54 p.m.)

The Department for International Trade says the group of Eastern and Southern African States (Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe) agreed to transition their trade agreement with the EU to the U.K. after Brexit. Both sides are now discussing keeping existing terms rather than renegotiating.

That follows a similar agreement with the South African Development Community last year, according to the department.

Ministers have been under pressure to show that the U.K. won’t lose its share of trade agreements the EU has struck with third countries after Brexit. The DIT is in talks with more than 70 trade partners about turning their EU agreements into deals with the U.K. Trade Minister Greg Hands has said before that none of the countries involved has said they don’t want to do this -- but few have signed up fully so far.

Swinson: Irish Border Solution Needs Customs Union (9:50 a.m.)

Jo Swinson, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, is giving an interview to Bloomberg TV. “There is nowhere in the world you can point to where you’re not in a customs union and you don’t have some kind of border,” she says about the government’s plan to seek an invisible border with the Republic of Ireland. “I don’t see how the government solves this problem without being in the customs union.”

Lawmakers from different parties will vote for staying in the customs union, she says, and she’s working with Conservative Party and Labour Party MPs on Brexit -- where she agrees with them.

Davis: New Immigration Policy Won’t Hurt Business (9:41 a.m.)

Part of government’s new strategy is the “free movement of brain power,” and immigration numbers for students and researchers are unlikely to change much after Britain leaves the EU, Davis says, adding that the government will also ensure businesses don’t lose out.

Davis: No Precedent for Customs Deal U.K. Seeks (9:27 a.m.)

Davis says leaving the EU customs union was one of the big upsides of Brexit, giving Britain “the ability to strike free-trade deals elsewhere.” But that said, the secretary says the U.K. does want a customs deal -- just not one for which there is any precedent.

Davis Says City of London Still Top Outside EU (9:21 a.m.)

Davis says the City of London owes its success to more than just being in the EU, and says the “critical mass” will still be there after Brexit because of the business environment, tax law and other factors.

“The benefits of London are so enormous that the critical mass is not going to evaporate. We are still going to be the biggest and most important financial center in the world in five years, in 10 years,” he says.

Davis: Parliament Won’t Accept Deal Without Details (9:18 a.m.)

Davis says that Parliament won’t sign off on the exit deal unless there’s a lot of detail about the future relationship. EU officials say the agreement on the future relationship is likely to be pretty vague. Ian Wishart has more on this: Brexit Bulletin: When Will the Fog Clear?

Davis: Trade Deal Won’t Be Legal Text by October (9:13 a.m.)

Davis wants the substance of the future relationship nailed down by October, but acknowledges that the deal “won’t be in legal form at that point.”

Coming Up:
Officials from EU27 meet to discuss Brexit position
Cabinet meets to discuss Syria

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