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UK to seek temporary customs deal with EU

UK to seek temporary customs deal with EU

LONDON: Britain will propose setting up an interim customs agreement with the European Union after Brexit to allow the freest possible trade of goods. But it will also seek the right to negotiate other trade deals, a possible sticking point in the talks. According to excerpts of a government document to be published on Tuesday setting out Britain’s strategy, the government will say one option to minimise friction when it leaves the bloc in March 2019 would be to introduce a temporary customs union which should be “time-limited”.

That would provide certainty for businesses, the government said, aiming to address a main concern of companies who fear the introduction of customs checks will cause expensive delays. “Ministers will announce an intention to seek an ‘interim’ period with the EU of close association with the customs union that would allow for a smooth and orderly transfer to the new regime,” the government said in a statement ahead of publication of the first in a series of “future partnership papers”. “One possible approach would be a temporary customs union between the UK and the EU … During this interim period, which will be negotiated with Brussels, Britain will look to negotiate bold new trade relationships around the world.”