15th August 2017
The UK Government's proposals for a future customs relationship with the EU are practical, achievable and allow room for "creative negotiation" according to Conservative MEPs' leader Ashley Fox.
Today's position paper suggests an interim, time limited customs union between the UK and EU from March 2019 during which current arrangements would be maintained to avoid disruption to businesses on both sides of the channel.
Two long term options are suggested; a streamlined customs arrangement keeping trade as frictionless as possible or an entirely new customs partnership with the EU negating the need for a customs border.
Mr Fox believes the proposals will reassure business and provide a clear starting point for talks.
"This paper removes any lingering uncertainty about what the UK is seeking to achieve," he said. "There is significant common ground between ourselves and our EU partners on this issue and I am sure the ideas will be welcomed in Brussels.
"These are our suggestions for how we might proceed. They allow space for creative negotiations to take place in the coming months over how to secure the free flowing trade that is in all our interests.
"We are breaking new ground and it would be wrong at this stage to narrow down the options for how the UK and EU can co-operate to achieve that goal."