Secretary of state for exiting the EU David Davis said: “The approaches we are setting out today will benefit both the EU and UK and avoid a cliff-edge for businesses and individuals on both sides.
“The way we approach the movement of goods across our border will be a critical building block for our independent trade policy. An interim period would mean businesses only need to adjust once to the new regime and would allow for a smooth and orderly transition.”
In response to the paper, the Chemical Industries Association welcomed cross-government acceptance of the need for a transition period.
However, the CIA argued the best way to guarantee no adverse disruption to business and trade during a transition period, “was to seek to retain our existing membership of the single market and customs union”.
The Food and Drink Federation, meanwhile, said the government’s drive for greater clarity on Brexit was “most welcome”.
FDF director-general Ian Wright said: “FDF’s priority is to ensure that our access to EU markets is not undermined during the transition period. Ensuring a single point of change would help to minimise unnecessary disruption for businesses that have established trading relationships with the EU.
“The real challenge will then follow in designing and negotiating a model that maintains these benefits beyond the transition period, delivering the same ease of trading that UK food and drink currently enjoys with the EU27, with zero tariffs and no new regulatory or other non-tariff barriers.”
As part of its aim to establish an independent trade policy, the government said it would prioritise “ensuring the UK and EU businesses and consumers can continue to trade freely with one another as part of a new free trade agreement”.
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