By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) - The U.K. will leave the customs union and the European single market following the transition period, British Secretary of State David Davis said Monday.
“The talks will focus on implementation (transition) period” to give clarity to governments and business,” David said at a joint news conference in London with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier a day before the start of the second phase of negotiations between the U.K. and the bloc.
“It will be a time-limited period and it will lead to us being outside the customs union and indeed the single market in the longer term,” Davis said. “We have to, however, within the next few months, arrive at the immediate outcome for the political agreement on implementation period,” adding that “we are confident that we can get to that political agreement at the March economic council.”
The sides should progress by October in producing a joint report, transition period and the future relationship, Barnier said.
Recalling the European Council expressed its readiness to consider the request by the British government to benefit from single market and the customs union for a short period after the U.K. leaves the bloc March 29, 2019, he said “the rules are clear and everyone should play with the same rules during this transition.”
Also underlining that the U.K. would face “unavoidable barriers to trade” outside customs union and the single market, Barnier said the time had come for the U.K. to make a choice about what it wants.
Barnier also met British Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Dawning Street.
The EU’s remaining 27 member states decided in December that enough progress has been achieved in Brexit talks to move to the second phase, where the future U.K.-EU relationship will be discussed.
The issue of leaving the customs union and the single market has been a point of discussion in the past week in the U.K., especially after a leaked government assessment indicated a loss in national income after Brexit.
When the U.K. leaves the at the end of next March its 44-year partnership with the bloc.
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