British officials devise third option for post-Brexit customs, BBC reports


LONDON (Reuters) – British officials have come up with a third model for handling customs after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, the BBC reported on Monday.

A cargo lorry arrives at the Port of Dover in Britain January 9, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Details of the proposal have not been revealed publicly but senior ministers will discuss it at Chequers, the prime minister’s country retreat, on Friday, the BBC said.

Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to find agreement on post-Brexit customs arrangements so that she can take it into negotiations with the EU as the clock ticks down to Britain’s scheduled exit in March 2019.

May has ruled out Britain staying in a customs union with the bloc – to the dismay of many big international companies – and says her government is working on two possible solutions to minimize delays at Britain’s ports.

The shape of the Brexit customs deal will define the trading relationship of the world’s fifth largest economy for decades to come and major companies have called for a simple system that does not silt up the arteries of trade.

So far, May’s advisers have come up with two options.

Under the first option, Britain would collect tariffs on imports from outside the bloc on the EU’s behalf. The second option, known as “max fac”, or maximum facilitation, would implement a technology-based plan.

A Downing Street spokesman declined to comment on the BBC report.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden

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