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Norway-plus could be way out of Brexit impasse, says forwarder

[ December 7, 2018   //   ]

With Brexit negotiations continuing, Leeds forwarding boss Adam Johnson says that the so-called “Norway Plus” option would be the least damaging practical outcome for UK firms. The Tudor International Freight director said with the draft withdrawal agreement almost certain to be rejected by the House of Commons on 11 December and no majority in Parliament for the UK leaving the bloc without a deal next March, one potential route out of this impasse was the country operating alongside Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein by re-joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and becoming a European Economic Area (EEA) member. The idea seems to have gained support among MPs in recent days, Johnson added.
He said this arrangement could apply following the UK’s envisaged post-EU transition period ending in December 2020, perhaps until it finished negotiating a Canada-style free trade agreement with the bloc, which was likely to take several years.
However, unlike Norway the UK would also effectively continue its Customs Union membership – already agreed in principle by the EU, as it’s part of the existing draft withdrawal agreement – to EEA membership. The Customs Union, embracing all EU states and some other countries, involves members waiving taxes on goods traded between them and applying a common tariff to items entering their territories from external nations.”
Mr Johnson said this would allow goods to continue to be shipped between the UK and EU without tariffs or customs and regulatory checks.

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