September 12, 2017 / 4:10 PM / 10 months ago

UK customs ready for 'no deal' Brexit, finance minister says

LONDON (Reuters) - British customs authorities will be able to cope even if the government is unable to reach a deal with the European Union to smooth Britain’s departure from the bloc, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Tuesday.

“(Customs agency) HMRC is preparing for all eventualities, including for a no-deal scenario,” Hammond told the economic affairs committee of Britain’s upper legislative chamber.

“We recognize that the timescales are very challenging, and in a no-deal scenario, not everything we would want to put in place will be in place on day one. But we will have a working system in place on day one, I have that assurance from HMRC.”

Hammond said the government was seeking the smoothest possible customs arrangements as part of a negotiated exit from the EU, which is due to take place in March 2019.

Reporting by David Milliken and William Schomberg, editing by Estelle Shirbon

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