Government sets out post-Brexit customs plan

Charlieaja

It also suggests that other, unspecified steps "may be necessary".

Document about the new customs Union is the first of a series of proposals that will be published by the United Kingdom government on the key issues of the negotiations with the EU.

The Brexit Secretary said securing an interim customs arrangement would be "in both sides" interest'.

But the government's plan - which it admitted was "unprecedented" - has already faced criticism from many sides. Any transitional period would most likely last for two years and must be over by the time of the next British election, due in 2022, he said.

On Sunday, Liam Fox and Philip Hammond, the latter previously regarded as a champion of a "soft Brexit", published a joint statement in the Sunday Telegraph saying Britain would be outside the customs union during the post-Brexit transition phase and at that point it would be "a "third country", not party to the EU treaties".

In the longer term, the government says it is seeking "the most frictionless customs arrangement anywhere", with minimal checks and paperwork on goods going between the European Union and UK.

Temporary arrangements could allow trade deals to be negotiated with other countries while governments and businesses adjust to new arrangements.

He added: "As Michel Barnier has said on several occasions, "frictionless trade" is not possible outside the single market and customs union".

If a figure for the bill is agreed in October, that would leave just 18 months for the two parties to conclude their negotiations if March 2019 is to be the date of Brexit.

The government admitted there would be "an increase in administration compared with being inside the EU Customs Union". But Brussels may put ministers under pressure to promise that these new deals will only come into force at the end of the interim period.

"With formal negotiations with EU leaders having only begun last month, it is too soon to comment on the true impact Britain's exit from the European Union will have", James Meekings, co-founder of Funding Circle, said. However, the European Union has repeatedly said any terms of the UK's departure will only be discussed when the immediate arrangements following the decoupling have been agreed upon.

The statement added: "Our goal is to secure as frictionless trade as possible with the European Union alongside the ability to forge trade deals around the world".

"It's a quagmire, you know", he said.

The proposal states the Government's objective to "seek recognition of the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland" to make maximum use of the "UK's flexibility in relation to our own operation of the border".

"There's a high level of delusion in London at the moment about what is required to be done", Mr Hogan said.

The government will set out its proposed solutions for the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland in detail on Wednesday.

The customs plan is being seen as a concession towards a "soft Brexit" that has been sought by companies and other groups anxious about the impact of a rushed exit from Europe.

"Business wants to see as frictionless a customs system as possible, with a strong emphasis on digital systems that make it easier to trade", he said.

During this period, the government would attempt to hammer out new trade deals with major trading partners, including forging a new relationship with the EU. "This new plan is a disgrace!"

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