British ministers: Brexit transition period "will be important" for businesses

Philip Hammond and Liam Fox says a transition 'cannot be indefinite or a back door to staying in the EU'

British ministers: Brexit transition period "will be important" for businesses

File photo of Philip Hammond. Picture by: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

Two senior British ministers have declared that the UK will need a transition period for businesses to adjust after Brexit.

Chancellor Philip Hammond and the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox have jointly made the suggestion in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

Without suggesting how long a transition would last, they say the 'time-limited interim period' would come into effect when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 - but insisted it would not be a 'back door' for staying within the union.

Mr Fox and Mr Hammond say businesses need reassurances that there will not be a "cliff-edge" when the UK exits the customs union & single market, or before new trade deals are reached with other countries.

The two ministers suggest: "We believe a time-limited interim period will be important to further our national interest and give business greater certainty - but it cannot be indefinite; it cannot be a back door to staying in the EU.

"We are both clear that during this period the UK will be outside the single market and outside the customs union and will be a 'third-country' not party to EU treaties.

"But we are also clear that during this period our borders must continue to operate smoothly; goods bought on the internet must still cross borders; businesses must still be able to supply their customers across the EU and our innovative, world-leading companies must be able to hire the talent they need, including from within the EU."

Meanwhile, the British government is set to release a new series of papers highlighting their plans in Brexit negotiations.

BBC reports that the three papers will focus on issues such as the Northern Irish border, as well as the nature of future arrangements between the UK and the EU's custom union.