Britain to release Brexit policy papers in EU divorce talks

Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis will unveil more policy papers this week which form part of broader divorce talks with the European Union. (Reuters)
Updated 20 August 2017
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Britain to release Brexit policy papers in EU divorce talks

LONDON: Britain will issue a cluster of new papers this week to outline its strategy positions in divorce talks with the European Union, ranging from regulation of goods to data protection, the UK’s Brexit department said on Sunday.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s government wants to push discussions with the EU beyond a focus on settling divorce arrangements to its future relationship with the bloc to bring clarity to anxious businesses, citizens and investors.
Last week, Britain issued proposals for a future customs agreement with the EU and a solution for Northern Ireland to avoid a return of border posts with the Republic of Ireland which might inflame tensions.
Britain’s Brexit department said on Sunday it would issue two formal position papers this week along with a batch of proposals for discussions on future relations ahead of the next round of negotiations scheduled for later this month.
“In the coming days we will demonstrate our thinking even further, with five new papers — all part of our work to drive the talks forward, and make sure we can show beyond doubt that we have made sufficient progress on withdrawal issues by October so that we can move on to discuss our future relationship,” Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis said in a statement.
In July, the EU’s top Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said talks on future relations had become less likely to start in October because of a lack of progress on issues such as how much Britain should pay to leave the EU, the future rights of British and EU citizens, and how to manage a land border in Ireland.
EU officials said progress had been difficult because Britain had no position at all on many issues and that an already-tight timetable could be delayed ahead of the scheduled March 2019 exit.
The release of a swathe of papers this week underlines Britain’s desire to counter that criticism.
One will be a technical paper dealing with services associated with the production, sale and distribution of goods, along with their operation and repair, which Britain’s Brexit department said should form part of the exit negotiations.
“It’s basically about ensuring that when we leave there isn’t a situation where goods on the market that have been validated and checked, all of sudden we have a need for businesses to have to go through compliance checks,” a spokesman said.
In another, the government will say it is important to establish a framework on confidentiality to ensure the current system for exchanging official documents is protected.
Further papers on the future relationship will be released outlining the UK’s plans for civil judicial cooperation with the EU, dispute resolution in light of Britain’s intention to end the European Court of Justice’s jurisdiction over British matters, and on data protection.


Oil prices fall on expected output rise after OPEC deal

Updated 25 June 2018
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Oil prices fall on expected output rise after OPEC deal

SINGAPORE: Brent crude oil prices fell over 1.5 percent on Monday as traders factored in an expected output increase that was agreed at the headquarters of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna on Friday.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $74.21 per barrel at 0343 GMT, down 1.8 percent from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $68.40 a barrel, down 0.3 percent, supported more than Brent by a slight drop in US drilling activity.
Prices initially jumped after the deal was announced late last week as it was not seen boosting supply by as much as some had expected.
OPEC and non-OPEC partners including Russia have since 2017 cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) to tighten the market and prop up prices.
Largely because of unplanned disruptions in places like Venezuela and Angola, the group’s output has been below the targeted cuts, which it now says will be reversed by supply rises especially from OPEC leader Saudi Arabia. Although analysts warn there is little space capacity for large-scale output increases.
“Several ministers suggested that (rises) would correspond to a 0.7 million bpd increase in production,” said US bank Goldman Sachs following the announcement of the agreement, although it added that were risks “that Iran production may be even lower than we assume” and that its output could fall further due to looming US sanctions.
Still, Britain’s Barclays bank said OPEC’s and Russia’s commitments would take “the market from a -0.2 million bpd deficit in H2 2018 to a 0.2 million bpd surplus.”
Energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie said the agreement “represents a compromise between responding to consumer pressure and the need for oil-producing countries to maintain oil prices and prevent harming their economies.”
In the United States, US energy companies last week cut one oil rig, the first reduction in 12 weeks, taking the total rig count to 862, Baker Hughes said on Friday.
That put the rig count on track for its smallest monthly gain since declining by two rigs in March with just three rigs added so far in June, although the overall level remains just one rig short of the March 2015 high from the previous week.