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Britain sets out details of relationship with European Union after Brexit

14 August 2017
Britain sets out details of relationship with European Union after Brexit

The chancellor and the global trade secretary are trying to show a united front, after weeks of arguing between ministers. "When we've left the customs union, we will build up on [relationships with other countries] by negotiating as an independent nation with the freedom to sign bilateral free trade agreements". "We will leave the single market, because there was a vote for change on June 23rd and that is what we will deliver".

The chancellor clarified the government's position in a statement jointly written with Liam Fox, the global trade secretary, saying that the United Kingdom would be "outside the customs union" during the post-Brexit transition phase and that at that point it would be "a "third country", not party to the EU treaties".

"We want our economy to remain strong and vibrant through this period of change".

On his first official visit to Northern Ireland earlier this month, the Taoiseach even put forward his own suggestions for a "soft Brexit" - including the possibility of creating a new EU-UK customs union.

"But we are also clear that during this period our borders must continue to operate smoothly; goods bought on the internet must still cross borders; businesses must still be able to supply their customers across the European Union and our innovative, world-leading companies must be able to hire the talent they need, including from within the EU".

It added that businesses should be assured there would be no "cliff edge" despite fears expressed that the UK could crash out of the EU without reaching a deal, which would see UK-EU relations revert to World Trade Organisation rules.

They write that there will be a "time-limited" transition period that would "further our national interest and give business greater certainty", but insist that Brexit will not be halted.

It comes as ministers start to set out their detailed aims for Brexit.

It's preparing to publish several papers, including plans for a new customs arrangement and a proposal on how to resolve the difficulties of a land border in Ireland.

The Sunday Telegraph reports one proposal will involve offering Irish citizens free movement in and out of the UK. Writing in the "Observer", he said: "People say we must respect the referendum".

The UK is now due to leave the European Union at the end of March 2019 after almost 52 percent of Britons opted to leave the bloc during the European Union referendum in June a year ago.

In June, the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier called for "more ambition, clarity and guarantees" around the protection of European Union citizens living in the UK.