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The IPPR warned that the latest deal's commitments on labor and environmental standards are considerably weaker than expected.
Britain's post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union (EU) leaves workers' rights and environmental protection at risk of erosion and will slow the country's economic recovery, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a London-based think tank, warned Sunday.
The agreement offers clear benefits to Britain and the EU, which would have been lost if no deal had been negotiated. However, its commitments on labor and environmental standards are considerably weaker than expected.
In aiming for an agreement which guarantees maximal sovereignty, the British government has watered down the "level playing field" requirements on areas such as labor and environmental protections and secured only limited benefits in market access, said the think tank.
"In the short-term, this is likely to lead to disruption to trade flows, including at the border. Over the longer term, the economy will adapt to the new arrangements, but barriers to UK-EU trade will likely lead to slower growth and a more prolonged economic recovery," the IPPR explained.
Given it is notoriously difficult to prove that any lowering of projection affects trade or investment, the deal is unlikely to prevent the UK government from weakening EU-derived labour and environmental policies if it so chooses.
"This leaves protections for workers, climate and the environment at serious risk of being eroded," said Marley Morris, an IPPR director focusing on trade and EU relations.
The deepest recession of any major economy, chaos at our borders and businesses teetering on the brink. Where is the Chancellor? pic.twitter.com/VtHFkZaytd
"This thin deal is better than no deal at all, but still creates major trade barriers with our closest neighbour, which will inhibit growth and slow the economic recovery," he added.
The trade deal, which came after nine months of arduous negotiations between Britain and the EU, was announced Thursday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. It will come into provisional force on Jan. 1, 2021 after the Brexit transition ends on Dec. 31.
The landmark deal, if approved by British and European parliaments, will guarantee tariff-free trade on most goods and create a platform for future Britain-EU cooperation on issues such as crime fighting, energy, and data sharing.
The free trade deal is the biggest bilateral trade deal signed by either side, covering trade worth around US$905 billion pounds. Britain is the EU's third largest trading partner in goods, following the United States and China.