The UK plans to remain in the EU’s customs union until December 2021, according to a new ‘backstop’ proposal unveiled by Teresa May, aimed at avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
After a dramatic Thursday morning (7 June) in Westminster, during which Brexit Secretary David Davis held two crisis meetings with May and is widely believed to have threatened to resign, the government published a five-page paper setting out a ‘temporary customs arrangement’.
The proposal would mean a one-year extension to the 21-month transition period running from the moment it formally leaves the bloc next March until the end of 2020, which the UK has already agreed with the EU.
Under the proposal, UK- EU trade would be free of any tariffs, quotas, rules of origin and customs.
However, the UK would be outside the scope of the EU’s Common Commercial Policy, apart from applying the bloc’s common external tariff, and would be able to agree free trade deals with third countries.
In a bid to pacify Brexiteers, the proposal makes clear that it should be “time-limited” until a new EU-UK trade deal is in place.
Note EU-Digest: obviously it is not sure the EU will buy into that?
Read more: UK plans to stay in customs union until December 2021 under new ‘backstop’ – EURACTIV.com