Industry bodies have said the UK government’s proposal for a temporary customs union after Brexit will reassure retail businesses.
The UK government has signalled its ambition to retain customs arrangements with the European Union for an “interim period” after Britain leaves the union in 2019.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said it intends to work with the government on a future customs deal.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “It is good that the government has started the discussion on future customs controls. Getting this right is essential to ensuring UK consumers are able to buy the products they want after Brexit.
“However, this is a complex issue, including safety checks, as well as customs paperwork, and we need to develop a system that avoids disruption at our ports.”
Meanwhile, the UK Fashion and Textiles (UKFT) Association has said it will continue to hold conversations with the government and “at every level” of the industry as it pushes for the current customs union to remain in place.
UKFT director of international business Paul Alger said: “The proposal is a softening of the blow for the industry. It’s a common-sense approach. We would have liked to see the government [address this] earlier in discussions, but it’s an interesting first step and UK businesses will be reassured they’re not stepping off a cliff top.”