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Ed's Brexit round-up

18th Aug 2017 / By Ed Barker

As members may be aware, this week’s Brexit developments were dominated by the news that the Government revealed its intentions over future customs arrangements with the EU after withdrawal in 2019.

Its vision was set out in what we understand will be one of many papers from the Cabinet, outlining core principles for Brexit, whilst avoiding any conflicting messages from Ministers, that have been so common until now.

The key Government proposals over customs are:

  • To seek a transitional arrangement with the EU after the UK has formally left the EU in 2019 for up to three years, whilst a new, full arrangement is negotiated. This transition would seek to maintain the status quo in terms of customs and frictionless trade, avoiding a ‘cliff edge’ scenario.
  • To maintain high level of standards and protect businesses from unfair or anti-competitive practices.

It intends to establish either:

  • A ‘streamlined’ customs arrangement between the UK and the EU, that would see the UK outside of a customs union but with specially negotiated procedures and processes or
  • A new customs partnership with the EU that aligns the UK with that of the EU’s external customs border, effectively replicating it. Whilst this approach is more innovative, it could offer fewer problems for pig products being exported to the EU.

Both options do pose their own unique challenges, not least because of how ambitious they are. The NPA will consider which offers the best prospects for the UK pig sector, and feed into Government as appropriate.