“There will be no non-tariff barriers to trade”

Boris Johnson, UK and EU Trade Deal announcement speech

December 24, 2020

Facts

During Boris Johnson’s UK and EU Trade Deal announcement speech, he said that “There will be no non-tariff barriers to trade”.

Asked later to explain this assertion, Johnson cited the UK’s greater autonomy to help its own business, “whilst not having any barriers to trade with the EU.”

The UK’s exit from the EU single Market and Customs Union brought a host of non-tariff barriers to trade. The government’s own website details the many changes for exporters and importers.

At GB-EU borders, there are customs declarations to be filled out, rules of origin checks to undergo, regulatory controls, health checks and more. A week after Johnson’s mistaken claim, the government updated its advice on EU trading requirements. It ran to 315 pages.

Many of Johnson’s own ministers have directly contradicted this claim.

Environment secretary, George Eustice said: “there is new administration required. There are new costs to getting those export health certificates. It does create some friction at the border and sometimes slow down the flow of goods.”

Dominic Raab said: “the EU regulatory requirements, the red tape and the paperwork that they have applied to the UK...if they ramp that up and they don’t take a sensible smart approach to that it will have an impact.”

Liz Truss said on the Andrew Marr show: “We’ve always been clear that trading as a third party country would involve processes, the similar processes that you have for trading with the United States or Japan or any other countries..”

Verdict

This was a grotesque lie from the Prime Minister, made in careless defiance of the known and established facts as set out by his own government. This website documents many other such lies and falsehoods from Boris Johnson and his ministers. Other instances of this kind of prime ministerial insouciance with official facts can be found here, here, here, here and here.

Meanwhile some more false statements by Boris Johnson and his ministers about Britain’s trading relationship with the EU can be found here, here, here, here, herehere, here, here, here, here and here

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