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UK Publishes Position Papers on Customs Arrangements and on Northern Ireland

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On 15 August 2017 the UK published its Position Papers on future customs arrangements and on Northern Ireland and Ireland.

1.1 Position Paper on Future Customs Arrangements – A future partnership paper

This paper puts forward two alternative approaches to future customs arrangements between the UK and the EU. The first, a highly streamlined customs arrangement, aims to continue some of the existing arrangements between the UK and the EU; and implement technology-based solutions  to make it easier to comply with customs procedures. It involves using the UK’s third country processes for UK-EU trade, using EU precedents and also introducing new facilitations. The second approach, a new customs partnership with the EU, involves aligning the UK’s approach to the customs border in a way that removes the need for a UK-EU customs border, for example, the UK mirroring the EU’s requirements from the rest of the world where their financial destination is the EU.

1.2 Position Paper on Northern Ireland and Ireland

This paper focuses on four key priorities for the UK. It confirms the UK’s commitment to upholding the Belfast (‘Good Friday’) Agreement in all its parts and also sets out that the Common Travel Area and associated rights must be maintained. The paper very strongly opposes a hard border for the movement of goods, and finally it focuses on aiming to preserve North-South and East-West cooperation, including on energy.

Both Position Papers confirm that the UK will look for an interim period post-Brexit for implementation of new rules, the duration of which will be linked to the speed with which those rules can be implemented.

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