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Cautious welcome to plans for future trade with the EU

Posted on August 15th, 2017

A Government paper published today outlining future customs arrangements with the EU has been given a cautious welcome by the Chamber.

It said the plan offered greater clarity of Government intentions for the region’s exporters.

But it warned that the Government’s stance on future membership of the EU customs union did not mean the terms would be accepted by the other 27 members of the EU.

Countries inside the customs union don't impose tariffs - taxes on imports - on each other's goods and every country inside the union levies the same tariffs on imports from abroad.

Publishing the paper setting out proposals for a future customs relationship with the EU, David Davis, the Secretary of State for Brexit, said the approach would “avoid a cliff-edge for businesses and individuals on both sides”.

He said: “The way we approach the movement of goods across our border will be a critical building block for our independent trade policy. An interim period would mean businesses only need to adjust once to the new regime and would allow for a smooth and orderly transition.

“The UK is the EU’s biggest trading partner so it is in the interest of both sides that we reach an agreement on our future relationship. The UK starts from a strong position and we are confident we can deliver a result that is good for business here in the UK and across the EU.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said: “Our proposals are ambitious, and rightly so. They set out arrangements that would allow UK businesses to continue to trade with their European partners in the future, while expanding their markets beyond the EU.”

Laura Howard, the Chamber’s Head of International Trade, said: “With the caveat that this is a negotiating position and therefore subject to agreement, I know that Chamber members will welcome attempts to retain frictionless trade between the UK and the EU that reduces bureaucracy and costs. Today’s announcement offers greater confidence for businesses trading with the EU.”

The Chamber processes export documentation for goods being sent to over 140 countries worldwide. In the six months to the end of June this year, the Chamber’s international team processed documents for £218,296,122 worth of commercial goods being shipped outside the EU. It also provides training to help businesses understand procedures, thereby saving time and money when trading with the EU.