October 19, 2016 / 2:30 PM / in a year

UK's Hammond notes risks for firms outside customs union

LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Finance minister Philip Hammond said on Wednesday he was sensitive to the potential problems for British companies if the country decides to leave the European Union’s customs union as well as the EU itself.

“We’re looking at all key sectors and you’re right that we should take particular note of those sectors with complex pan-European supply chains where often components and self-assemblies move backwards and forwards across European borders several times before they get incorporated into a final product,” Hammond said in a response to a question from lawmakers.

He declined to comment on whether Britain would seek to stay in the EU customs union.

It includes Turkey, Andorra and San Marino which are not members of the bloc but trade freely and share the EU’s common external tariffs. If Britain was in the customs union, it could complicate attempts to strike free trade deals with other countries around the world. (Reporting by David Milliken and Andy Bruce; writing by William Schomberg; editing by William James)

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