UK Business Leaders Propose Partial Customs Union With EU

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LONDON (Sputnik) - UK business leaders on Friday asked the government to go for a hybrid option in its future trade arrangement with Brussels to allow deals with third parties while keeping EU customs barriers down.

In a 10-page report, entitled "Customising Brexit: A hybrid option for a UK-EU trade framework," the Institute of Directors (IoD) urged London to seek a "bespoke, partial customs union with the EU."

"This partial customs union would cover industrial and processed agricultural goods, removing the need for UK manufacturing firms to face costly ‘rules of origin’ that could render a tariff-free deal meaningless for many companies in these sectors," the paper said.

A pro-European Union,(EU), anti-Brexit demonstrator holds the EU and UK flags outside the Houses of Parliament, in central London on January 22, 2018 - Sputnik International
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At the same time, the hybrid option would give London the "freedom to forge its own trade policy" and seek free trade deals with other countries in areas not covered, or complement the customs union with a wide-ranging free trade deal on these areas.

"We must be ambitious in undertaking the most important negotiations this country has embarked on for decades and push for a bespoke solution," IoD head Stephen Martin said in a statement.

Allie Renison, the author of the paper in charge of Europe and trade policy, said there has been much talk and much less action on forging a UK-EU trade relationship 20 months on from the referendum, in which a majority of UK voters backed leaving the bloc to pursue a global Britain.

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