Theresa May reportedly wants to stay in the customs union for years after Brexit


Theresa May

Theresa May and her Cabinet are reportedly ready to stay in the customs union beyond 2021.
The extension would give UK more time to come up with a workable customs solution.
British officials want there to be a strict time-limit on the proposal.
Downing Street reportedly believes the proposal would allow ministers to say they have formally left the EU customs union while avoiding a hard border with Ireland.

LONDON — Britain is willing to stay aligned with EU customs rules and tariffs until well into the 2020s, as ministers continue to battle over the UK’s post-Brexit arrangements, according to multiple reports.

Three senior officials from the UK and EU told Politico that Theresa May’s team is floating a plan which would see the UK temporarily remain inside the EU’s external common tariff until a future customs arrangement is agreed, instead of leaving the EU’s customs arrangement at the end of the transition period in December 2020.

Downing Street reportedly believes the proposal would allow ministers to say they have formally left the EU customs union while avoiding a cliff-edge scenario for business in Northern Ireland and the emergence of a hard border with Ireland.

The news follows weeks of Cabinet deadlock over the UK’s future customs arrangements. Brexiteers favour a “max-fac” option which would utilise new technology, but the scheme would be hugely complex and could take years to implement.

May’s preferred “customs partnership” solution, which would see the UK collect tariffs on behalf of the EU, was described as “crazy” by Boris Johnson and considered potentially illegal under trade law by Brexit secretary David Davis.

A UK official told Politico the plan would have a strict time-limit and said the main problem would likely be objections from the Irish government.

“Basically it’s keeping [Britain] in the external tariff until the new system is ready,” the official said.

“It …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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