Whether we’re in or out, the UK will have to meet EU regulations to trade with the EU
Our sectors value the UK’s ability to influence the rules of the EU single market and the global standards which shape the regulatory environment for our key customers and suppliers.
When the UK engages and works with key EU partners it has a good record in bringing about change that benefits UK growth.
Europe wants to hear the UK’s voice on standards and regulations. It often brings a balance of perspective to discussions.
Large UK-based manufacturer
Policy maker: UK influence on global standards
As a member of the European Union, the UK has significant influence on the setting of standards and regulations both at a global and regional level.
The UK is a member of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) thanks to our membership of the EU and has voting rights.
By leaving the EU, the UK would have to follow the same European safety regulations outlined by EASA, but would lose the ability to shape their development.
Policy takers: the Norway model
Whilst Norway has the right to oppose some regulations, in practice it is loath to upset its largest trading partner such that in reality Norwegian politicians have consented to almost all regulations arising from Brussels.
Norway has implemented thousands of EU regulations since it signed the latest trade agreement in 1994, despite the fact that Oslo has no direct influence over the content of this legislation as a non-member. This democratic deficit is the price of greater autonomy.
All or nothing: the Swiss model
Switzerland exists outside the EU but still enjoys access to the EU’s Single Market via a package of bilateral treaties signed with Brussels.
However, this access is dependent on the freedom of movement. If Switzerland breaches one treaty then all others, including its Single Market agreement, are also breached.
Switzerland is also able to sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries like China directly. Yet these deals tend to disadvantage Swiss companies given the size disparity between the two countries: the Swiss had to eliminate virtually all tariffs on Chinese imports almost immediately, while the Chinese only have to reduce tariffs (not eliminate them) on, for example Swiss watches, over the next ten years.