Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Brexit: The government's customs options

Brexit news Theresa May REUTERSBrexit news Theresa May vowed to carry out Brexit
Jay Anderson | 03 May, 2018, 16:01

She highlighted some of the government's proposals, which include a customs partnership, which Cooper said she "struggles to get her head around", as this seems to involve collecting European Union tariffs at the border, tracking products, and then paying some of the money to the EU.

Under the plan, Britain would collect tariffs on the EU's behalf at ports and airports, passing on a share of the cash to Brussels.

With customs arrangements emerging as the key stumbling block to a deal on European Union withdrawal, the issue has the potential to split the Cabinet, where Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson and Liam Fox, who are seeking the freedom to strike new trade deals, are pitted against others who fear barriers to commerce in Europe.

After losing her party's majority at an ill-judged election a year ago, May has put off committing to a single plan, offering Brussels two options - the customs partnership or a technology-based streamlined customs arrangement, both of which European Union negotiators have dismissed.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May during the U.N. General Assembly in NY, U.S., September 20, 2017.

In parliament, May said there were a number of ways to solve the customs issue, in what seemed to suggest that her government could be looking beyond the two proposals already made.

The statement comes ahead of a key meeting of senior ministers on Wednesday.

On Tuesday David Davis was been called on by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee to explain his vision of a post-Brexit border on the island of Ireland. "I think it would one be one concession too many".




Failure to come up with a solution could leave the United Kingdom forced to fall back on the European Commission's "backstop" option, which would effectively draw a customs border down the Irish Sea.

However, the Brexiters are expected to push back against the idea that maintaining the integrity of the Good Friday agreement requires no infrastructure whatsoever between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

One ERG source told the paper: "We have swallowed everything so far - but this is it".

"Quite often on their position on Brexit is that they stake out a fact and say it's not a possibility when all they really mean is that they've decided that they don't want it".

Asked whether there were other options, her spokesman said: "Work has been ongoing on two options, that work has been proceeding".

May does not intend to reach a full decision today but instead try and win support of Brexiteer colleagues before a full meeting with Cabinet next week, the Times reported.

Davis also told the committee that he expected the United Kingdom and European Union to have "substantively" agreed to the terms of their future relationship by October this year, and that the two sides could have an agreement "in legal terms, pretty much by the time we leave", ready for the European Union to ratify once the U.K.is no longer a member country.

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