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    UK Could Aim for Turkey-Style Relationship With EU

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    Britain could aim to emulate the trade relationship Turkey has with the EU, according to the UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox. His political opponents have accused the government of being in disarray over which direction to take Brexit negotiations.

    In the run-up to the Brexit referendum in June 2016, and even a month after it's seismic result, Liam Fox was insisting that the UK should seize the opportunity to disentangle itself from the EU's restrictive single market.

    Now, the staunchly euroskeptic senior cabinet minister appears to have had a change of heart.

    In an apparent U-turn, Dr. Fox has said that he may now support the UK remaining part of the EU's customs union, despite leaving the EU.

    The about-turn has been met with derision by some of his political opponents, including the Liberal Democrats, who backed the UK remaining a part of the EU.

    Six months on from the Brexit vote, Prime Minister Theresa May has not given any indication on whether she wants the UK to be in or out of the single market.

    And so, the comments by her International Trade Secretary are the clearest sign yet that her government is seriously considering keeping some formal ties with the bloc.

    "We want to look at all the different things, it's not binary. I hear people talking about hard Brexit and soft Brexit as though it's a boiled egg we're talking about. It's a little more complex. So Turkey, for example, is in parts of the customs union, but not in other parts,"Dr. Fox said speaking to the BBC.

    Crucially for many euroskeptics, Turkey's customs union deal with the EU, has no freedom of movement aspect.

    However, it only covers goods, not services or finance deals. This is where Dr. Fox's plan may run into serious obstacles from the City of London.

    Unlike Turkey, the financial sector in the UK is a huge contributor to the UK's GDP.

    The news came as George Osborne, the former Chancellor, said that Mrs. May should not to have "red lines" on issues like immigration in her Brexit negotiations.

    However, for many senior EU bureaucrats, the message from Brussels to the UK has been made abundantly clear: there can be no status-quo access to the EU's lucrative trading union without accepting the core EU principle of freedom of movement.

    Dr. Fox has already changed his mind once in a matter of months. His party's leader, Mrs. May, is not due to trigger Article 50 — the official mechanism that will start UK-EU negotiations — until March 2017.

    Three months is a long time in politics.

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    Tags:
    customs union, European single market, single market access, Brexit, business, trade, European Union, Liam Fox, Theresa May, Europe, Turkey, United Kingdom
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