Published: Mon, August 14, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Hammond and Fox vow transition will be no 'back door' to EU

Hammond and Fox vow transition will be no 'back door' to EU

The remarks by Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief negotiator, came as Mr Davis prepared to publish a series of detailed "position papers" on Brexit.

The Chancellor Philip Hammond and the International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, write that the transition period is created to avoid a so-called "cliff-edge" - but their comments in the Sunday Telegraph don't reveal how long this period will last.

The paper says that a "formal position paper to be published next week by the government" which will state that ministers are sticking with plans for a "light touch" customs border.

Britain is ready to move to the next phase of Brexit talks and set out details of the future relationship it wants with the EU. The two leading politicians said the government wanted to ensure "there will not be a cliff-edge when we leave the EU".

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the two cabinet members said that "we are both clear" that during the period Britain would be outside the single market and the customs union "and will be a "third country" not party to EU treaties".

It added that businesses should be assured there would be no "cliff edge" despite fears expressed that the UK could crash out of the EU without reaching a deal, which would see UK-EU relations revert to World Trade Organisation rules.

"We will leave the customs union and be free to negotiate the best trade deals around the world as an independent, open, trading nation".

Barnier has maintained that negotiators must make progress on the rights of European Union and British citizens, the border with Ireland and Britain's exit payment before discussing a deal.

"By triggering Article 50 in March of this year we leave in March 2019, what the transition period will look like is down to the negotiations", he said during a surprise appearance at Alex Salmond's show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

According to reports, the Brexit negotiations have not begun well due to disagreements among Prime Minister Theresa May's team of ministers about the kind of deal they should be seeking.

A second batch of papers, to be released in the run-up to the October meeting of the European Council in Brussels, will look at "future partnership" arrangements between the United Kingdom and the EU, including the UK's proposals for a new customs arrangement with the bloc.

"We've been crystal clear that issues around our withdrawal and our future partnership are inextricably linked", a source in Britain's Brexit department said.

European Union leaders will meet in Brussels on 19 October, then again on 14 December.

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