Clean Brexit: Prime Minister Promises UK Will Leave Customs Union

Lucy Bush
April 24, 2018

The customs union sets tariffs for all EU member states meaning goods can be moved from one country to another within the bloc without further taxes being imposed.

Last week, Britain's upper house of parliament inflicted an embarrassing defeat the government, challenging her refusal to remain in a customs union with the EU after Brexit.

The battle over customs rules is likely to reach a climax in a Commons vote as early as next month.

She has said the United Kingdom would leave the EU's single market and customs union after Brexit in March 2019, noting the country may suffer new trade barriers as a result of her move.

"She has said that we are not going to be part of the Customs Union or any customs union".

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Who supports remaining in the customs union?

Eurosceptic members of the prime minister's ruling Conservative Party were said to be anxious Mrs May would break her promise on leaving the customs union, according to reports on Sunday evening.

Arguing against the amendment, Richard Keen said retaining the charter would open up Britain to being influenced by "foreign law" that could to lead to "constitutional outrage".

It was one of two options outlined to minimise friction on the Irish border and allow Britain to pursue trade deals with third-parties during her address.

May's aides said on Sunday that the key policy on Brexit hasn't changed and insisted she's committed to breaking away from European customs laws.

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The most sensible way forward is for the United Kingdom as a whole to remain within a customs union with the EU and to allow Northern Ireland to remain within the single market.

Those in favour of remaining in the customs union argue that cutting trading ties would severely damage the United Kingdom economy.

"More importantly, on a three-line whip, we have twice now had formal, important votes in the House of Commons on this, and the House of Commons voted on both occasions by a big margin that we should leave the Single Market and the Customs Union".

The Confederation of British Industry has called for the United Kingdom to remain in the customs union, while the Labour Party has also backed a similar arrangement.

Brexiteers fear the parliamentary arithmetic, combined with Brussels's rejection of Britain's customs proposals and the need to show how a hard border can be avoided, will push the prime minister into seeking some kind of customs union with the EU.

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Labour has said that it would negotiate a new customs union.

Other reports by Info About Network

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