British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to foreign leaders at a Brexit summit in Brussels, Belgium, on October 17. Photo by Olivier Hoslet/EPA-EFE
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to foreign leaders at a Brexit summit in Brussels, Belgium, on October 17. Photo by Olivier Hoslet/EPA-EFE

The Institute for Government, a UK-based think tank, on Monday issued a report warning that an incoherent approach of the British government to its post-Brexit regulatory freedoms may come at a price — negatively affecting the country’s businesses and its international trade ambitions, among other consequences.

“Yet exercising the UK’s new autonomy will often come at a price. Diverging from the EU could trigger disputes under the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) that lead to a loss of access to EU markets for British firms, undermine the UK’s international obligations, make British exporters less competitive … Critically, it also risks deepening trade barriers between Great Britain and Northern Ireland,” the think tank said.

According to the report, London should avoid divergence from the European Union unless there is a good reason for it, “beyond simply wanting to demonstrate that it can.”

The think tank also outlines how the government should deliver the promised benefits of regulatory freedom from the EU to avoid the risks in question. In particular, it should set out clear guidance on how departments should exercise the UK’s new regulatory autonomy, reform existing cross-government processes and structures for assessing regulatory proposals, and monitor regulatory developments in the EU that will affect the island nation, among other steps.

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