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Plans outlined to ensure sale of UK goods following exit from EU

By Business Reporters

The UK has set out proposals to ensure that trade in goods and services can continue with Europe after the point at which it leaves the European Union.

A position paper published by Brexit Secretary David Davis called for goods already on the market to be allowed to remain on sale in the UK and EU without additional requirements or restrictions following Brexit.

And it said any agreement should allow oversight arrangements to remain in place, permitting action to be taken against unsafe or non-compliant goods to preserve patient safety and consumer protection.

A second paper recommended a reciprocal agreement to ensure continued confidentiality for documents shared by the UK with its EU partners.

The publications come ahead of the third round of formal Brexit talks in Brussels next week and are due to be followed in the coming days by papers setting out the UK's position on civil judicial co-operation, enforcement and dispute resolution and data protection.

Mr Davis said: "These papers will help give businesses and consumers certainty and confidence in the UK's status as an economic powerhouse after we have left the EU. They also show that as we enter the third round of negotiations, it is clear that our separation from the EU and future relationship are inextricably linked.

"We have already begun to set out what we would like to see from a future relationship on issues such as customs and are ready to begin a formal dialogue on this and other issues."

Publication of the papers comes after an EU leader warned that slow progress in Brexit talks means the UK will not be able to progress to the second phase of negotiations in October as planned.

Northern Ireland business groups last week welcomed "constructive" Downing Street proposals which would see no border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic, but say it throws up more questions.

The Whitehall paper wants to avoid checkpoints or any other physical border. But, it proposes employing "technology-based solutions to make it easier to comply with customs procedures".

"This would enable the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland to continue to be seamless in relation to customs," it says.

But the paper does not make clear what will be put in place to regulate the flow of goods across the frontier.

Speaking about the latest proposals, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: "We are confident that we will have made sufficient progress by October to be able to advance talks to the next phase.

"That is our aim and we are confident that we are working at a pace to be able to get to that point."

Meanwhile, the Government's new chief trade negotiation adviser, Crawford Falconer, said the trade deals Britain could strike after Brexit would help boost global security.

Last week, the Government conceded that the UK would not be able to implement any new free trade agreements under a proposed customs transition deal expected to expire around two years after Brexit in March 2019.

But Professor Falconer, who will work alongside International Trade Secretary Liam Fox from this week, wrote in the Daily Telegraph: "There is a powerful political and security element to getting this right.

"History is littered with instances of the destructive political consequences of closed markets. This was a lesson well understood at the end of the last century's global conflicts. Many countries still recognise that open trade policies directed at engaging with others are at the core of any strategy to improve the global prospects for political openness and stability."

Belfast Telegraph

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