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Customs arrangements better for Brexit

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EU Chancellor Philip Hammond has backed a transitional deal for Brexit saying it would be “helpful” to allow longer than two years for the UK’s EU exit.

Mr Hammond told the Treasury select committee that there was an “emerging view” that having longer would tend towards a “smoother transition”.

There would be “less risks of disruption” including “crucially risks to financial stability”, he added.

However, both business and government would have to make changes, he said.

His comments are being seen as the strongest signal yet from the government that the Brexit process could take a lot longer than the two years needed for the official Article 50 exit process to be completed.

 

The Treasury Select Committee called for written submissions on transitional arrangements as part of its inquiry into the UK’s future economic relationship with the EU.

It defines “transitional arrangements” as being “any arrangement that takes effect between the point at which the UK formally leaves the EU… and the point at which the UK’s final, settled relationship with the EU becomes effective.”

“I would not want anybody to think this is just about financial services,” Mr Hammond told MPs.

“For example, depending on what future customs arrangements are between the UK and European Union, there could be significant physical infrastructure changes that need to be made at ports of entry and exit, not only in the UK but on continental Europe as well,” he added.

He said there could also be a need to train large numbers of people in anticipation of a “much more intensive process at borders.

“So it’s not just the business sector, it’s also the government sector that has to think about how long it takes to make changes, hire people, train people, introduce IT changes.

“And I think the further we go into this discussion, the more likely it is that we will mutually conclude that we need a longer period to deliver,” he added.

 

Source: BBCB

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