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Boris Johnson's government is 'gaslighting' Britain about the realities of Brexit, critics say

February 20, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 25.5%. 2 min read.

Andy Trust has been exporting fish from Cornwall to continental Europe for 20 years. However, the past seven weeks have given him cause to contemplate shutting down the entire European operation of his fish merchants, Ocean Harvest. "The cost of sending fish into Europe has more than trebled. In an industry that operates on thin profit margins, it could destroy British fishing," he says.

London (CNN)Andy Trust has been exporting fish from Cornwall to continental Europe for 20 years.

It's been seven weeks since the UK completed its departure from the European Union and Boris Johnson's post-Brexit trade deal came into effect.

In the case of companies that import parts from Europe before exporting a finished product, the correct paperwork is needed at every stage of the supply chain, leaving British exporters at the mercy of European firms which are also getting their heads around the complex new processes.

"Even though impact of FTAs is usually analyzed over a period of time, for a government minister to say we should look at the impact of this deal in 10 years when people are losing jobs and money is a bit tone deaf, especially when you consider that it was down to the government to provide guidance to allow businesses to prepare," says Anna Jerzewska, founder of Trade and Borders, a consultancy which assists exporters and importers across Europe.

"Politically, the government made a decision to prioritize regulatory autonomy over economic integration with the EU and the trade deal reflects that -- it does little to facilitate trade," says Sam Lowe, a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform.

"When we emerge from lockdown and British actors, musicians and people providing professional services start looking at taking jobs in Europe, they will be introduced to a world of visas, work permits and European embassies that they never had to worry about before," says Lowe.

Many analysts thought that the initial trade deal would smooth the path to some kind of future pact on financial services, but with the UK government being bullish about the merits of its agreement and Brussels making noises about taking London's business, things don't look promising.

Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, has refused to answer questions from lawmakers on their concerns about the deal, while the government says it has no plans to publish an impact assessment.

"It's entirely possible that 10 years from now, the UK will have pivoted to exporting beyond Europe," says Simon Usherwood, professor of politics at the University of Surrey.

A government spokesperson told CNN that it was "committed to ensuring that businesses get the support they need to trade effectively with Europe and seize new opportunities as we strike trade deals with the world's fastest growing markets. "

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