Brexit Brawl: UK Businesses Reportedly Stand Up to Government Customs Plan

© REUTERS / Dado Ruvic/IllustrationEuro and pound banknotes are seen in front of BREXIT letters in this picture illustration taken April 28, 2017
Euro and pound banknotes are seen in front of BREXIT letters in this picture illustration taken April 28, 2017 - Sputnik International
The issue of the UK customs arrangements remains a stumbling block in Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels. One of the options proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May stipulates that the UK would continue to collect tariffs set by the EU customs union for goods coming into the country on behalf of the bloc.

The heads of major British companies have rejected the UK government's option of agreements with the EU on customs inspections after Brexit, according to a statement made by the London-based Institute of Directors (IoD) which was obtained by Sputnik. 

The statement said in particular that most business leaders want agreements that will help avoid new customs rules in relations with the EU, even if the implementation of such deals will take more time.

READ MORE: 'Crazy System': Boris Johnson Hits Out at May's Brexit Customs Plan

According to the document, more IoD members would prefer to keep virtually unimpeded trade rather than rely on trade simplification mechanisms related to the so-called max fac (maximum facilitation) process.

The max fac option, which remains on the UK government's table, envisages minimizing customs checks by means of the use of new technologies and the status of a "reliable seller."

READ MORE: UK Gov't Heading for 'Brick Wall' Over Post-Brexit 'Customs Partnership' With EU

The option also stipulates that companies will pay customs duties once in a certain period of time rather than each time they cross the border.

The IoD statement pointed out that in most business categories, there is no support for the max fac option and that even among non-trading companies, the level of support for the absence of customs declarations is twice as high as the support level for max fac.

The heads of UK companies also urged the government to agree with the EU on a "partial customs union," which will deal with industrial goods and processed agricultural products.

READ MORE: New UK-EU Customs Union Would Be Betrayal of Brexit Vote — May

According to the IoD, this will help maintain the competitiveness of some of the key industrial sectors in Britain while giving future governments the opportunity to deliver on their promise to provide independent trade policies, including with regard to tariffs on agricultural products such as beef, oranges and sugar from developing countries.

Additionally, the IoD noted then that it shares Theresa May's stance that the future customs agreement with the EU should not be based on existing models, but be developed from scratch, taking into account all unique aspects pertaining to the current situation.

READ MORE: UK to Leave Customs Union When Brexit Transition Period Ends in 2020 — Spokesman

Banners are displayed during a protest by Anti-Brexit campaigners, Borders Against Brexit, against Britain's vote to leave the European Union, at the border town of Carrickcarnon in Ireland October 8, 2016. - Sputnik International
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In May, Theresa May said that the UK would leave the EU customs union in 2020, when the Brexit transition period ends, pointing out that work on customs arrangements with the EU currently remains a priority.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, for his part, slammed May's customs unions plans as "implausible," adding that the government "wasted weeks working up proposals that the EU said were unworkable."

With the issue of the UK customs arrangements remaining a stumbling block in talks between London and Brussels on the UK's withdrawal from the EU, many fear that the spat may finally led to a 'hard Brexit'.

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