Over the past few weeks there has been a lot of debate and discussion regarding how the UK will trade with other nations when we leave the EU next year.
Many people have fixed views on what should happen in the future. Some people are keen to follow the referendum result to the letter and cut all ties with the EU and create new partnerships, whilst others would be willing to remain within some sort of customs union or partnership.
The two systems which are being widely talked about as the main options for the Government are the Customs Partnership and the Maximum Facilitation options.
The Customs Partnership is a system whereby the UK would collect tariffs set by the EU and send the money back to Brussels. If the UK set lower tariffs, this money, the difference, would be refunded. New IT systems would have to be implemented to electronically track where goods come from and go to.
The second system is one called Maximum Facilitation whereby a so-called ‘frictionless’ border would be introduced. For this, new electronic technology would be put in place to remove the need for physical border checks as much as possible. Schemes like ‘trusted trader’ and authorised operators would be introduced for smoother trading.
These two options are being discussed widely, but it is my view that the Maximum Facilitation option would give greater autonomy over our ability to trade freely once we leave the EU.
The role of the European Court is also relevant here as it could oversee disputes and the implementation of the system. There would, of course, be consequences for Northern Ireland as the Government has made clear that it does not want a so called hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland and nor does it want restrictions placed on trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
When the people of Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016, they didn’t vote to leave parts of the EU and stay in other parts of it. They voted to leave.
However people voted, they are demanding quite rightly that we just get on with it. That’s exactly what needs to happen and ensuring we have the freedom to carry out trade deals with other countries once we leave is a huge part of that.