Committee says continued market access to the EU is essential for Wales after Brexit
The Welsh Government must continue to call on the UK Government to ensure that preferential market access, free from both tariff and non-tariff barriers, is prioritised in the forthcoming negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the European Union (EU), an Assembly Committee has said.
The External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee is concerned about the potential adverse economic consequences for Wales if tariff and barrier-free market access is not secured in Britain's post Brexit relationship with the EU.
During the course of its inquiry the Committee was told that frictionless trade and the avoidance of tariff and non-tariff barriers were a priority for many industries in Wales.
The Committee was not persuaded of the value of regulatory divergence after Brexit. The evidence received during its inquiry overwhelmingly prioritises the maintenance of equivalent regulatory standards to ensure preferential market access over regulatory divergence after Brexit in a wide range of sectors including health, automotive, farming, and food.
The Committee also calls on the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to ensure that any post Brexit relationship includes:
continued participation in the European Medicines Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control;
involvement in Horizon 2020 and any successor programmes; and
continued participation in Erasmus+ and other educational mobility and student cooperation schemes.
The report, comprising the view from Wales, is the first of two reports. The Committee recognises that the view from Europe will be crucial in shaping what is achievable in terms of the future relationship, and the Committee will explore this as part of a second phase of work.
Chair of the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee, David Rees AM, said:
"The detail around Wales' future links with the EU is still very much up for debate and we should take every opportunity available to us to shape that future relationship in a way that reflects the needs and interests of the people of Wales.
"Our report isn't a shopping list of what should be in and out of that future agreement. It represents the concerns that we, and many of our stakeholders, have about the implications for Wales should these issues not be reflected in that post Brexit relationship with the EU.
"We expect UK Ministers to take into account the implications for each constituent member of the UK when negotiating on the post Brexit relationship, including the matters raised in this report, to ensure that we achieve a Brexit that works for all."
Read the full report:
Wales’ future relationship with Europe Part one: a view from Wales (PDF, 9 MB)