This week the UK government published its first proposal for future customs arrangements once the UK leaves the European Union.
The government stated in the paper that it seeks a new customs arrangement “that facilitates the freest and most frictionless trade possible between the UK and the EU”.
The new agreement should also “be as facilitative as possible to encourage growth in trade with the EU and the rest of the world, and should mitigate to the greatest extent possible against any additional administrative burdens or delays”.
The government is looking at two different models on customs to ensure these objectives:
- A highly streamlined customs arrangement between the UK and the EU, streamlining and simplifying requirements, leaving as few additional requirements on EU trade as possible. This would aim to: continue some of the existing arrangements between the UK and the EU; put in place new negotiated and potentially unilateral facilitations to reduce and remove barriers to trade; and implement technology-based solutions to make it easier to comply with customs procedures. This approach involves utilising the UK’s existing tried and trusted third country processes for UK-EU trade, building on EU and international precedents, and developing new innovative facilitations to deliver as frictionless a customs border as possible.
- A new customs partnership with the EU, aligning our approach to the customs border in a way that removes the need for a UK-EU customs border. One potential approach would involve the UK mirroring the EU’s requirements for imports from the rest of the world where their final destination is the EU. This is of course unprecedented as an approach and could be challenging to implement and we will look to explore the principles of this with business and the EU.
The government said that under either model, “a time-limited interim period” should be introduced so both the UK and the EU could fully implement the new arrangements with minimum disruption.
You can read the whole proposal by the UK government called Future Customs Arrangement: a future partnership paper, here.