Ministers in the UK have proposed a “temporary customs union” in an attempt to prevent any potential disruption for businesses after the country officially Brexits in March 2019.
According to a position paper published today, ministers said the plans would allow for the “freest and most frictionless possible trade” with the rest of Europe.
The UK would also expect to be able to negotiate its own international trade deals during this period, something which it is not currently able to do as a member of the customs union.
Once the period is over, the UK would seek to negotiate a “highly streamlined” border with the EU, or a new kind of “partnership” characterised by the lack of customs borders.
As part of its plans, criticised by Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, the government said the interim arrangements would seek to facilitate the process for businesses – which have long called for clarity – as they would only have to adjust once to a new customs regime.
Today’s proposals, are thought to be the first in a series of documents focused on key negotiation points to be published by the government.
The plans will now have to be negotiated with the EU, but other key points, such as the size of the UK’s EU “divorce bill”, will need to be agreed upon first.