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Future customs arrangements: a future partnership paper

As part of its commitment to keeping stakeholders informed as negotiations on the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU) progress, the Government has today published a paper – Future customs arrangements: a future partnership paper. This is the first in a series of papers on the new deep and special partnership the government wants to build with the EU.

The paper, which is available to view here, sets out the Government’s vision on trade and customs, including two broad options for future customs arrangements between the UK and EU. It outlines that, in assessing the options for the UK's future outside the EU Customs Union, the Government will be guided by what delivers the greatest economic advantage to the UK, and by three strategic objectives:

  • ensuring UK-EU trade is as frictionless as possible;
  • avoiding a ‘hard border’ between Ireland and Northern Ireland; and
  • establishing an independent international trade policy.

A paper on a wider range of issues relating to Northern Ireland will be published shortly.

Having engaged extensively with stakeholders since the referendum, the Government recognises that building new trading relationships, and adjusting to a different customs regime and changed VAT and excise regimes, will take time. The paper published today therefore confirms that the Government is proposing a time-limited interim period, to ensure a smooth and orderly transition to any future arrangements – and preventing a cliff edge and disruption for businesses.

We welcome your views on the paper, and are keen to work with business on the proposals over the summer. The planned engagement will aid further policy development, and allow the government to consider specific business impacts before legislating for the UK’s new trade and customs regimes. This paper also confirms that the government will publish two white papers – one on the Trade Bill, another on the Customs Bill – ahead of the introduction of each Bill in the Autumn.

Those who wish to provide feedback on the proposals set out within the paper can do so by email (CustomsStakeholders@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk) or via post to:

Customs Stakeholder Engagement
HM Treasury
1 Horse Guards Road

Many thanks for your continued interest and engagement.

Kind regards,

The Customs Stakeholder Engagement Team.

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