Brexit shock: Boris Johnson loses the trust of Britons to deliver post-Brexit trade deals
Britons are sceptical about their benefits and are becoming concerned about deals which might reduce environmental and animal welfare standards in the UK, a government public attitudes study has found. Support for a trade deal with the US fell by 10 percent over a year.
About a third of the public are concerned that a US trade deal would reduce food standards in the UK and undermine the NHS.
The study also found that for the first time a majority of people no longer thought trade deals would lead to more jobs in the UK.
Only 42 percent thought trade agreements would lead to more jobs which is down from 51 percent last year.
Seventeen percent said they believed more free trade would lead to lower quality of goods and services.
This figure has increased from 12 percent a year ago.
The study was conducted for the Department for International Trade before the lockdown began in the UK amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The research used more than 2,000 face-to-face interviews with voters in the UK.
The questions were formed from a survey in 2018.
Although the public showed they were losing faith in job prospects from trade deals, overall there was little change to support for free trade deal talks.
The amount of people who support negotiating free trade deals remained at about 66 percent.
A spokesman from the Department for International Trade said the UK public remained “positive” about the overall impact of trade deals.
But the study showed a decline in people’s beliefs that increased free trade will lead to higher wages.
Support for establishing free trade deals with countries including Australia, New Zealand and the US has remained relatively high.
But for each country, there has been a decline in the number of people supporting a free trade agreement.
The research also highlighted how people believed Japan produced good quality consumer goods compared with the other countries listed including the US and India.
Almost two in three respondents said the quality of consumer goods from Japan is good.
This comes as it was revealed that the UK International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, backed away from signing a post-Brexit trade deal with Japan.
Last week Ms Truss was expected to announce the deal to protect £14.8 billion of UK exports to Japan following negotiations with the country’s foreign minister.
The deal was not signed after Ms Truss demanded better terms for the UK’s stilton cheese producers.
According to Government figures, a “modelled” trade deal with Japan could add 0.07 percent to Britain’s GDP in the long term.
Talks between the UK and Japan will continue at an official level to attempt to resolve the differences.
The UK hopes to have an agreement ratified before the Brexit transition period ends in December.