In a speech to the Hungarian Business Leaders’ Forum on 22 September 2016, Lord Price, a Minister at the UK Department for International Trade, stated that the UK does not “want tariffs to increase costs to consumers or bureaucratic customs arrangements to slow business efficiency” after the UK leaves the European Union.
Lord Price’s remarks highlighted the UK’s trading relationship with the EU, as well as substantial levels of investment by UK companies in the Hungarian economy.
In particular, the Minister noted how manufacturing in the automotive and aviation industries is conducted across borders, with parts and finished goods being manufactured both in the UK and in continental Europe. In a sign that the UK may seek to remain in the EU’s Customs Union, he warned against the imposition of tariffs and customs procedures on cross-Channel trade.
Echoing statements by other UK ministers, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (see our previous Blog post here), Lord Price said that “it is in the EU’s interests that the UK makes a success of Brexit.”
He also said that continuity in the UK’s trading relationship with the EU would be vital after Brexit, indicating that a shift in arrangements “would cause an economic shock that the EU and UK don’t need.”
The UK Government has not yet taken an official position as to whether it will seek to remain a member of the EU Customs Union.
Lord Price’s speech is available in full here.