LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s government said it wanted free trade in goods with the European Union after Brexit as it tries to avoid border delays and differing rules for industry, a risk that worries carmakers, aerospace firms and other manufacturers in Britain.
The proposals, which must now be negotiated with the EU, will be opposed by some lawmakers in Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party who say she wants to stay too close to the EU. Two key ministers have resigned over the plan which was released in outline form last week.
Following is a summary of the proposals on trade in goods which published by the government on Thursday.
- London says a free trade area with the EU for goods would be the core of its economic relationship with the bloc after Brexit and would protect the myriad supply chains and “just-in-time” processes that have flourished with Britain in the EU;
- Britain and the EU would keep a common rulebook for all goods including agri-foods and London would commit to keeping up to speed with EU rules on issues needed to avoid border friction. Britain would help shape the rules — although the government conceded it would no longer have any voting rights — and parliament would have oversight for turning them into law;
- Britain would participate in EU agencies that govern trade in goods such as those that oversee chemicals, aviation and medicines;
- a new Facilitated Customs Arrangement would remove the need for customs checks and controls for goods moving between Britain and the EU. London says it can apply EU tariffs for goods intended for the EU and its own tariffs for goods destined for Britain. It hopes that would enable it do trade deals with the rest of the world, but EU officials have sounded skeptical about the idea of Britain collecting EU import tariffs. The scheme would become operational in stages;
- the government said a free trade area for goods would avoid the need for a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland which has become one of the main sticking points of the Brexit negotiation;
- while manufacturing accounts for only 10 percent of Britain’s economy, the much bigger services sector will face new barriers to cross-border business, something the government said it wanted to minimize.
Writing by William Schomberg, editing by Andy Bruce