Government plan to keep UK in near identical customs union at interim and final stages criticised by all except business

A government plan to copy European customs controls after Brexit has run into intense scepticism in Brussels and London, with ministers being accused of making unrealistic promises in pursuit of “frictionless trade”.

The long-awaited policy paper proposes to keep the UK in a near identical customs union with the EU for an unspecified period after departure while it seeks to negotiate a permanent arrangement that will also “mirror” much of the existing system.

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