Protecting EU trade is right approach doing interim

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The CBI has responded in detail to the Government’s publication of the future partnership paper on the Customs Union.

Talking about the interim period, Josh Hardie CBI Deputy Director-General, said: “The commitment from Government to explore a Customs Union for the interim period is a critical first step forward. This clarity is vital for businesses making long-term investment decisions today.

“Protecting our significant trade with Europe while we explore global opportunities is the right approach during the interim period.

“This matters for jobs and investment for both European countries as well as the UK. What’s needed now is a pragmatic approach from Brussels on this issue of mutual interest.

“We look forward to seeing more details on interim arrangements beyond the Customs Union.”

On the customs proposals, Hardie said: “Business wants to see as frictionless a customs system as possible – the Government’s aims are the right ones.

“Companies are looking forward to providing further ideas and solutions to achieve these aims. In particular, helping the Government support small and mid-sized firms, who could find transition the toughest if we don’t get this right.

“Much will rest on the negotiation, and – as the paper acknowledges – EU customs systems will need to adapt too. There is clear interest on both sides in avoiding a cliff-edge and keeping trade flowing, not just at Dover, but Rotterdam, Calais and Antwerp too.”