Philip Hammond: UK committed to trade 'status quo' after Brexit

Elias Hubbard
December 17, 2017

The prime minister said it was important to work out the exact terms of an implementation period, created to soften the effects of Brexit after the March 2019 leave date, "as soon as possible.to provide invaluable certainty for employers".

EU leaders have agreed to move Brexit talks on to the second phase, says European Council President Donald Tusk.

He also added: "the British Government would be very unwise to accept" the EU's demand that "in the transition period we will be bound by the single market, the European Court and the acquis".

Mr Hammond said the deal sought by the Government would mean that, although "technically" the United Kingdom would not be in the customs union or single market, it would effectively keep the same rules, including on trade and immigration, during an implementation period until the terms of a new deal can be put in place.

The EU is willing to start talks next month on a roughly two-year transition period to ease Britain out after March 2019, but has asked for more detail from London on what it wants before it will open trade negotiations from March of next year.

But May can expect some hard exchanges this week when she and senior ministers discuss the so-called "end state" of the Brexit negotiations for the first time since Britain voted to leave the European Union in a referendum in June 2016.

"What we need to do is something new and ambitious, which allows zero tariffs and frictionless trade but still gives us that important freedom to decide our own regulatory framework, our own laws and do things in a distinctive way in the future", he told the Sunday Times newspaper.

The restrictions imposed by the EU's position were rejected by Mr Rees-Mogg, who said Ms May must not agree to them.

Ministers have not formally supported the move but it would appear certain the Government will back the measure if it presented a way for Ms May to avoid another Commons reverse.

"We have a level of trade and commercial integration with the EU27 which is unlike the situation of any trade partner that the European Union has ever done a trade deal with before", he was quoted as saying.

The momentous move was agreed in a meeting of the leaders of the 27 remaining European Union states lasting less than half an hour in Brussels, in the prime minister's absence.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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