A customs union with the EU would come with significant costs to the UK’s economic, trade and foreign policies. Such an arrangement would also fail, by itself, to eliminate trade ‘friction’ with the EU. To do so would also require alignment with the Single Market rules for goods.
A customs union would also come with significant risk to UK consumers who would likely lack effective representation in new EU trade agreements. There would be a high chance that their interests would be subsumed to those of EU producers, and UK producers’ defensive interests would not be represented. Furthermore, if the UK were required to follow the EU’s trade defense policies, UK consumers would be left vulnerable to price rises to protect EU manufacturers, while British manufacturers would not necessarily be defended.
[To read the original policy brief, click here.]
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