Downing Street rules out EU customs union

Downing Street has issued a statement saying that Britain will ‘categorically’ leave the customs union after Brexit, as prime minister Theresa May and secretary of state for exiting the European Union David Davis prepare to meet chief EU negotiator Michael Barnier today

Theresa May has confirmed that the UK will not be part of the customs union after March 2019.

A Downing Street source said: ‘It is not our policy to be in the customs union. It is not our policy to be in a customs union.’

In a customs union the UK would have tariff-free trade within the EU, but would not be able to negotiate deals with other countries.

Later on today May and Davis will meet Barnier to discuss transitional arrangements after Brexit for the first time.

Later, talks between officials will focus for the first time on the transitional period planned for after Brexit. A transitional arrangements are intended to ensure that businesses and individuals are not faced with a ‘cliff-edge’ when the UK leaves the EU.

Davis and Barnier are expected to reveal the progress of negotiations on 9 February.

Report by Amy Austin

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