Britain seeks “temporary customs union” with EU to avoid trade chaos after Brexit

FILE PHOTO: A cow draped in Britain's Union Flag is seen during a protest by farmers in London, Britain, March 23, 2016. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo

LONDON, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) — Britain on Tuesday published a position paper in a bid to negotiate a “temporary customs union” arrangement with the European Union (EU) for an interim period after Brexit to avoid chaos in cross-border trade.

Britain is seeking to strike the EU deal to retain the main benefits of the customs union for years after it has left the regional bloc, said the position paper.

The official document, the first in a series of “future partnership papers” to reveal the British government’s strategy on the post-Brexit arrangement, was published as part of London’s efforts to counter criticism from Brussels about its approach to the Brexit talks.

EU officials said in July that it was hard to make a progress in the Brexit talks because Britain had no position at all on many issues.

Britain hopes to keep the temporary arrangement in place until a final trade agreement with the EU takes effect, according to the paper.

The British proposal, if accepted by Brussels, will allow the transit of goods across borders to continue as now. After Brexit, there will be no need for companies to fill in additional paperwork, ensuring that goods move smoothly across the border with the rest of the EU countries.

In 2016, Britain imports and exports from the EU totalled 553 billion pounds (some 718 billion U.S. dollars).