The government should follow Open Europe’s compromise approach, where the UK aligns with EU goods regulations
As the UK exits the EU, it will leave the EU’s customs union. Yet with just months remaining of the article 50 deadline, the government still doesn’t have a clear customs policy. It has not endorsed either of Whitehall’s two existing options, which the EU has pre-emptively dismissed. Theresa May needs to break the impasse at her Chequers Brexit cabinet meeting.
Meanwhile the Labour party and some Conservatives demand a new customs union with the EU. Together they may have a majority in parliament, although this has not been tested. Whatever Labour claims, a permanent customs union would mean outsourcing trade policy to Brussels (where we would no longer have a seat at the table), and allowing the EU to sell access to our markets without our control. That’s not a sustainable long-term position.