Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Britain Offers Two Options for Future Customs Union With EU - Spokesman

Brext EU Image Britain Offers Two Options for Future Customs Union With EU - Spokesman
Melinda Barton | 06 February, 2018, 16:08

Britain can not avoid trade barriers with the European Union if it leaves the customs union and the single market after Brexit, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has warned.

The only thing I can say is without the customs union, and outside the single market, barriers to trade in goods and services are unavoidable.

In a Downing Street briefing before Theresa May, the prime minister, met Michel Barnier, the chief European Union negotiator, a new line in the sand was drawn on a previously ambiguous but crucial area of the British negotiating strategy.

He said: "Mrs May has asked to benefit from the single market and the customs union for a short period after this".

But he added: "The conditions are clear, very clear".

Putting the issue to bed, a Downing Street source said: "We must be free to sign trade deals with the rest of the world.so it is not our policy stay in the Customs Union".

Bailey said that, by the end of March, a joint commitment should be made to set up a well-defined implementation of the transition period, allowing space for firms, political authorities and regulators to put solutions in place.

A disorderly Brexit as a result of Britain misjudging the "self-preservation" instincts of the European Union could lead to a further downgrade of the U.K.'s sovereign credit rating, S&P Global also said yesterday.

So there is an expectation that Olly Robbins, the chief negotiator, may be about to present an approach that is meant to pull the Cabinet together (though one Downing Street source said "Boris is not onside").

Earlier, the home secretary Amber Rudd told the BBC that on the customs union, the prime minister had an "open mind" and that "we proposed either a customs arrangement or a customs partnership".

Ms Rudd attempted to clear up some of that confusion over customs arrangements, with the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox last week claiming a customs union was "not possible" despite Mrs May's claim to be keeping an "open mind" in her Lancaster House speech past year.

Mr Davis said the United Kingdom wanted a comprehensive free trade agreement while still having the opportunity to make deals across the rest of the world.

It is understood Downing Street has placed about 10 ministers on "suicide watch" amid fears of a walkout that could cause the government to collapse, with defence minister Tobias Ellwood at the top of the list.

Pro-Brexit MPs welcomed the announcement on the customs union.

In addition to transition and the plans for the future relationship, the talks will also revisit issues still unresolved from the first stage of negotiations, including the Irish border.

Brexit Secretary David Davis said the UK's position was "perfectly clear". The U.K. wants instead a trade deal with the European Union that will also include access for financial services. "We are 19 months since the referendum, we are nine months to go and we still don't know what it is we want".

Johnson reportedly told rebel MPs to support May, but said he would be "ready" if a leadership challenge is required.

To avoid an exodus of moderate members, she said it had to become "the party I joined 40 years ago", which she described as "One Nation, centrist, socially liberal, fiscally sensible, economically sound".