New document proposes post-Brexit 'customs arrangement' between UK and EU

The British-Irish Chamber of Commerce says it would "eliminate the need for a border"

New document proposes post-Brexit 'customs arrangement' between UK and EU

Image: Pixabay/DanielDiazBardillo(CC0)

The British-Irish Chamber of Commerce has published a document, which it says offers a solution to avoid an Irish border post-Brexit.

It says the 'Big Principles for a Strong Brexit Partnership' proposal is looking to "break the logjam" between the UK and the EU.

The document follows extensive consultation with nine sectoral policy committees and external stakeholders of the chamber.

It says this has led to "a politically ambitious but technically achievable solution" to the trade issue.

The proposal is for the UK and EU to form a new 'Customs Arrangement', which would "eliminate the need for a border on the island of Ireland and addresses concerns about border and customs checks at UK ports."

The British-Irish Chamber of Commerce also says it best serves the interests of those trading in the UK, Ireland and the EU, while limiting the number of compromises required from the British government or the EU.

Key objectives include:

  • A trade relationship between the UK and the EU that is effectively borderless (including in Ireland and at UK ports) and free from tariff and non-tariff barriers and enabling trade in both goods and services
  • An alignment of the UK's tariffs with the established Common External Tariff and continued regulatory alignment to both maintain standards and protect both the UK and the EU from an influx of cheaper, lower quality goods which would endanger citizen safety in manufacturing and food production
  • A solution to the island of Ireland border issue and protection of the Good Friday Agreement
    A pursuit of new global trade deals that are mutually beneficial
    Ability for the UK to set out its own migration policy

Speaking at a launch of the framework, director-general of the chamber John McGrane said: "These Big Principles are being put forward as a positive contribution to the debate on the future of the EU-UK trading relationship.

"Both parties in the negotiations have spoken of their desire to find a deal that protects the open border on the island of Ireland and this paper offers a possible solution to this challenge.

"It also seeks to ensure that UK-Irish trade is not unduly undermined by the Brexit process but rather encouraged to grow after we get through this difficult phase."

President of the chamber, Eoin O'Neill, added: "Both (EU Brexit negotiator) Michel Barnier and (British) Prime Minister May have spoken of their hope to have a close and strong trading relationship post-Brexit.

"What we are providing here is a basis for this, which we expect to be debated and constructively challenged, but which we ultimately hope will facilitate movement towards the detailed work required to establish the foundation for a strong post-Brexit relationship."