June 18, 2018

Brexit trade deal confidence 'fast collapsing', says freight body

08 June 2018, 07:26 | Melvin Schneider

GETTY•CHANNEL 4Brexit news Bernard Henri Levy said Britain will become

GETTY•CHANNEL 4Brexit news Bernard Henri Levy said Britain will become

On Thursday, Theresa May was forced to say she "expects" there to be a cut-off date after Brexit Secretary David Davis allegedly threatened to resign.

Davis had demanded the backstop plan did not last indefinitely and convinced May to confirm that any transitional period would have to end before the year 2022.

Under the new backstop proposals, if no agreement on customs has been implemented by the end of 2020, a temporary arrangement would ensure that no "tariffs, quotas, rules of origin (or) customs processes" applied to UK-EU trade.

The inclusion of the clause, at the demand of Ireland, nearly wrecked the deal until Mrs May added a commitment that there would also be full alignment between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

"The people instructed the government to negotiate a withdrawal from the European Union, now the government owes people an answer: what terms have you got, are we going to be worse or better off?"

Mr Barnier warned that "time is moving on", with less than three weeks to go to the 28 June EU leaders' summit at which Brussels and the Irish Government are pushing for resolution of the border issue.

The Frenchman also rejected the notion the EU's own backstop, which would keep Northern Ireland attached to the bloc's customs union effectively creating a border in the Irish sea, could not become UK-wide.

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Mrs May believes this would keep the Irish border open, while avoiding creating a customs border between Northern Ireland and the British mainland, as the EU's backstop proposal would.

Hookham says that with less than 300 days to the UK's scheduled departure from the European Union, and no progress made on trade talks, the lack of clarity over key issues is eroding the country's invaluable trading relationships with businesses overseas, and foreign businesses based in Britain.

Mr Barnier told a press conference in Brussels that it is not "feasible" to extend the backstop to the whole of the UK.

The government decided not to change an amendment that would force it to try to negotiate a customs union with the EU that is shaping up to be the most contentious vote in parliament next week, an official with the opposition Labour Party said.

Labour MP Chris Leslie, who is campaigning for a "People's Vote" on the final Brexit deal and believes the United Kingdom should stay in the single market and customs union, said the row "would be laughable if it weren't so serious".

Mr Thompson said HMRC had chosen to assess the potential impact by looking at the how many customs declarations there will be and the cost of that rather than as a percentage of the value of trade.

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