Statement by the Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst, on the proposed future UK-EU Trade Agreement.
Since the UK’s formal departure from the European Union on 31st January, both parties have been negotiating how they will trade and co-operate at the end of this Transition Period.
Today, the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that the UK and EU have reached agreement on their future relationship.
The Council of Ministers have examined Jersey’s place within the agreement, and what participation would mean for our Island, our community and our future.
I can now confirm, on behalf of the Council of Ministers, that we will be recommending to the States Assembly that Jersey does participate in this agreement.
In the first instance, participating will further strengthen and stabilise our historical relationship with the United Kingdom – which has existed for over 800 years – and illustrate a commitment to a future based on collaborative and constructive working.
It will maintain, as closely as possible, the conditions of our current EU trading relationship. It will ensure that our goods, destined for the EU, are treated fairly, without tariffs and equal to those goods originating from the UK.
And it will provide clarity for our Fisheries industry.
Jersey is an agile, outward-facing and open jurisdiction. Our prosperity relies on our international reputation and connectivity.
Over a number of years we have been forging our own international identity, one that is built upon stability; good governance; and bilateral and multilateral engagement.
Participating in this agreement ensures that our interests and objectives are heard, understood and respected by our two most important international partners.
It ensures we can obtain the benefits of any future arrangements, both between the UK and the EU but also as the UK seeks new agreements with countries around the world.
Just over 25 miles away, our colleagues in Guernsey are making a similar decision.
As self-governing parliamentary democracies, it is within our power to determine what is in the best interests of our Islands and our communities. And both Islands are in agreement that participation in this deal fulfils those best interests.
In recent years we have strengthened our working relationships, and improved the cooperation between both of our jurisdictions.
We again find ourselves in a shared position. In the coming weeks, months and years we will confront shared challenges and seize shared opportunities.
There is now an even greater opportunity for inter-Island collaboration, which will strengthen our Channel Islands interest as we continue working cooperatively with the UK, the European Union and internationally.
I will now lodge a proposition on behalf of the Government of Jersey, for this recommendation to be considered by Members of our States Assembly on Sunday 27 December.
The decision of the Assembly will be of great significance in our Island’s history. I am confident that whatever the decision, Jersey will continue to grow and thrive.
We have worked passionately and with determination since 2016. And I would like to commend the professionalism and dedication of our civil servants in preparing the Island for the outcome that we have reached today.
We will continue to ensure that the best interests of our Island, our people, and our future are at heart of our work as we move into 2021 and beyond.
Thank you for listening, and Happy Christmas.