What a 'no customs union' means for the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland

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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. "The British government needs to come out with concrete proposals very soon, time is running and we need an orientation, what they want to achieve".

Mr Barnier also said the EU would consider a transition period for Britain after it leaves the bloc that would allow for continued temporary access to the single market and customs union to allow businesses to adapt. The farming industry has frequently warned that future trade deals must not allow cheaper food produced to poorer standards to be imported once the United Kingdom is out of the customs union.

31 December, 2020 - The EU's proposed transition period ends, with Britain free to implement its own trade deals with other countries, and free of all obligations to the Union.

The cabinet agrees on the need for "frictionless trade", the ability to strike global trade deals and avoid a hard border in Ireland, she said.

Only after the legal text is agreed and the transition arrangements worked out, probably in late March, will the two sides begin negotiations on their future relationship, including a free trade agreement.

"Because I read for example, "we don't want a soft Brexit", I read "we don't want a hard Brexit", I read "we don't want a customs union", I read "we don't want to contribute to the EU budget in the future". "I will not give a running commentary on the domestic and internal debate in the UK".

"We will be leaving the EU and the customs union and it is not government policy to be members of "the" customs union or "a" customs union", the government spokesperson said.

A bilateral customs agreement, such as the EU-Turkey "customs union", for example, though, does not cover agriculture or services, nor does it affect procurement.

So far Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that Britain will leave the EU's customs union, and is not planning on entering into any newly arranged EU-UK customs union.

"And so do I think civil servants are politically biased, well I think the information the treasury has produced is biased, but the blame must always be with ministers". The FUW has in the past demanded Welsh access to the customs union, calling it "critical" for rural Wales.

Last week, Conservative MP Anna Soubry launched an outspoken attack on "hard Brexiteers" on the Tory benches who she said would "not hesitate to destroy this party" in order to get what they wanted. He called on her to "free us from the protectionist policies of the customs union". She still hasn't stamped her vision of Brexit on her divided Cabinet, and that's led to "huge uncertainty for business", said Hilary Benn, chairman of Parliament's Leaving the European Union Committee.



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