UK seeks transitional trade deal with EU to avoid Brexit ‘cliff edge’

UK seeks transitional trade deal with EU to avoid Brexit ‘cliff edge’
Britain may need an interim trade agreement with the European Union to smooth its exit from the bloc, said Britain's Trade Secretary Liam Fox, adding there should not be a "buy back" into many EU regulations.

A transitional trade deal could allow Brexit talks to be carried out in a less pressured environment.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May plans to trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty by the end of March, beginning the two-year withdrawal period.

Banks and businesses have repeatedly said the UK government should agree a transition period to avoid a damaging "cliff edge" or harsh exit from the union before Britain has finalized its future trading terms.

When asked whether he supported the idea of a transition period, Fox told the BBC “that depends on what the actual arrangement is as we come to leave the European Union and the timescale needed to implement it."

The government should minimize disruption to businesses and international trade, according to the trade minister, who reportedly favors a clean break with the EU.

“But at the same time, you can’t afford to buy back into so much of the European Union that we are actually diminishing the effect of what the British people told us to do.”

Fox said the British voters had made it clear they don’t want to see uncontrolled immigration or to be governed by European courts. The government should take that into account, he added.

He also said that he was still looking at whether Britain should seek to stay in the EU’s customs union or its single market.

Earlier Fox and May stated that they wanted to agree on new trade agreements with non-EU countries as soon as possible after Brexit and have already started informal talks with some of them.

The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee said the UK government should consider remaining a member of the EU's customs union as an interim arrangement. There’s no evidence that Britain could achieve trade on terms equivalent to full membership of the EU's single market with other countries, particularly in services, which account for around 80 percent of Britain's economic output, it said.