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Brexit Britain May Not Have Trade Deals in Place Until 2022


The Chancellor hopes goods will flow into the UK “in much the same way as they do now” during the three-year transition from when Britain leaves the EU in 2019. However, he has not said how long it would take to put the “necessary arrangements in place.”

Philip Hammond MP said trade deals with third countries may not come into force during the period, but claimed there was a "broad consensus" that treaty-based arrangements with the EU would be in force by the next scheduled general election in June 2022.

Mr Hammond said "many things will look similar" on the first day after leaving the bloc in March 2019 and he “hoped” goods would flow across the border between the EU and Britain in "much the same way as they do now" during the transitional period. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

"There will be a process between the date we leave the European Union and the date on which the new treaty-based arrangements between the UK and the European Union which we hope and expect to negotiate come into force.

“People have talked about a year, two years, maybe three years. I think there's a broad consensus that this process has to be completed by June 2022."

The Chancellor said he recognised that it may "take some time" to "negotiate trade deals with third countries" following claims by former EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht that the UK would not be able to strike a trade deal with the US before it has left the EU or during a transitional period. "We recognise that it will take some time for us to negotiate trade deals with third countries. The important point is that we are able to get started on that process and during a transition period when we would hope to have continued access to the European market. It may be that during that period we don't bring those agreements into force, but it will take us time anyway to negotiate them."

Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said on Thursday that free movement of labour would end when Britain leaves the EU but Mr Hammond said there would be a registration system in place for people coming to work in the UK after Brexit, during the transitional period.

"If they come here to work after we leave the European Union, during that transitional period, the sensible approach will be to seek to register people so that we know who is coming and who's going," he said. "This is a transitional period that will take us from membership of the European Union to a new future relationship with the European Union which has yet to be negotiated, so the details of our long-term relationship are a matter for the negotiations which David Davis is conducting in Brussels."

Added Patricia Gibson:

“It is quite clear that the UK Tory Government is completely clueless about what the next few years will mean for our economy and the everyday goods and services on which we all rely.

“That the Chancellor and Immigration Minister cannot agree on key issues like the free movement of labour illustrates the confusion and lack of leadership at the heart of the UK Government. They need to get their act together and at least agree a coherent way forward, if they are to deliver anything positive through ongoing Brexit negotiations.”

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