Barnier rejects UK Brexit customs proposals

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has rejected the idea of the UK collecting customs duties on behalf of the trading block, according to BBC News.

Barnier confirmed that the EU would not delegate “excises duty collection to a non-member”, noting that the EU wished to retain control of its money, law and borders just as much as the UK.

Barnier and UK Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab agreed that progress has been made in talks but that “obstacles” remained to achieving a deal by October.

Raab said: “We have agreed to meet again in mid-August and then to continue weekly discussions to clear away all the obstacles that line our path, to a strong deal in October – one that works for both sides.

The concept of the UK collecting duties on behalf of the EU had been a prominent feature of UK proposals for post-Brexit trading arrangements, a Facilitated Customs Arrangement. The system would see the UK collecting tariffs for the EU in a bid to ensure frictionless trade.

Barnier said the white paper put forward by the UK government was a “real step forward” but that “we are not at the end of the road yet.”