Business groups, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Institute of Directors (IoD) have responded to the publication of Brexit customs position papers by the Department for Exiting the EU.
The government is seeking to secure a new customs arrangement that ‘facilitates the freest and most frictionless trade possible’ between the UK and the EU.
The paper outlines two customs approaches: a ‘highly streamlined’ customs arrangement between the UK and the EU, and a new customs partnership with the EU.
Responding to the publication of the paper, Josh Hardie, Deputy Director General of the CBI, stated: ‘Companies will welcome the progress government has made . . . in publishing these papers. Over the past year, businesses have been providing policymakers with the evidence, ideas and solutions to make a success of Brexit.’
Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, stated that businesses want ‘clarity on the UK’s future customs arrangement with the EU’.
He said: ‘Business needs to see the government’s resources focused on the conclusion of a successful customs deal with the EU. At this stage, it is critically important to keep a number of different options open in order to achieve this goal.’
Meanwhile, the IoD welcomed the government’s ‘first concerted push on trade after Brexit’. Allie Renison, Head of EU and Trade Policy at the IoD, said: ‘This is a hugely positive step from government in putting pen to paper to spell out its objectives for customs arrangements with the EU after Brexit.
‘The paper outlines options for a transitional period and for the longer term, proving that both are crucial to achieving a smooth and orderly exit.’