CBI urges the United Kingdom to stay in EU customs union

Cheryl Sanders
January 23, 2018

But Mr Macron also said Britain might be able to agree a deal that was "perhaps between this full access and a trade agreement", adding that it was not his ambition to "unplug" the City from the EU.

Previously, the business group has only demanded Britain stay in a customs union during a "transitional phase" after 2019.

Ukip chief Henry Bolton - who is clinging on as leader after losing a confidence vote last night - broke his silence to hit out at the secret strategy.

If there were to be an extension, the EU wants Britain to stay bound by all EU laws, including the oversight of the bloc's top court, the European Court of Justice.

'In contrast, negotiations are going to show what a hard road lies ahead for Britain'.

The papers map out the government's approach to an outline trade deal that Ms May hopes to negotiate later in the year.

The plan, reportedly being masterminded by Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, is said to give the United Kingdom the chance to remain in the EU instead of continuing to head down the "hard road" of negotiations.

One source told the paper that they think even leading Brexiteers like Michael Gove could be pushed to change direction.

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), suggests a "global customs union between the United Kingdom and the EU" in Monday's speech that was unveiled Sunday on the Confederation website.

Ms Patel's comments came ahead of a speech in which CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn is expected to call for the United Kingdom to remain in the customs union after Brexit for the sake of business and jobs.

Michael Gove has warned Theresa May that Britain risks becoming an outdated "VHS economy" if it accepts calls by big business for the United Kingdom to be closely aligned with the European Union after Brexit.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general told an audience at Warwick University on Monday: "There may come a day when the opportunity to fully set independent trade policies outweighs the value of a customs union with the EU; a day when investing in fast-growing economies elsewhere eclipses the value of frictionless trade in Europe".

The Foreign Secretary and Brexit champion said such a position would "effectively" mean Britain staying in the European Union and stop the PM from signing new free trade deals with the USA and the rest of the world.

Britain can negotiate new trade deals after it leaves the European Union, but they cannot enter into force until the end of the transition period, unless the bloc agrees.

And more than 60 per cent also opposed any European Court of Justice jurisdiction in the United Kingdom after March 2019.

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