Brexit-Backer Liam Fox offers an argument to maintain the customs union

A key Brexit member of Theresa May's Cabinet offered an explanation of why a Eurosceptic could live by keeping the United Kingdom in the customs union?

Liam Fox, in charge of international trade and a fiery In February, he warned that staying in the EU's trade regime would be a "complete sale". It would be a conflict with the objective of seeking free trade agreements independently, since the commercial policy for goods would be subcontracted effectively. to Brussels.

However, in a speech to the City, Fox hinted that since the strength of the United Kingdom lies with the service industries that make up 80 percent of the economy, the rules that govern manufacturing goods such as automobiles they would not affect Britain, or their ability to prosper in a post-Brexit world.

"However, what I am saying is that discussions about trade and export policy can often focus too much on the movement of physical goods, for the detri of our comparative advantage in services," he said at a conference. in London.

The customs union only deals with goods.

May is under pressure from businesses and members of his own party to agree to stay in the customs union – an investment of the policy he has followed for more than a year. The companies, the European Union and probably the majority of the Parliament want the United Kingdom to stay, but if May agrees to do so, it could provoke a rebellion in his party that could end his expulsion.

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Fox argues that free trade agreements have done little for the service industries that are key to Britain. "While the system has many strengths, its provisions are still insufficiently equipped to effectively govern global trade in services," he said on Monday. "It would be negligent for developed nations like ours not to recognize this potential and to lead trade in the liberalization of services."

He goes on to say: "There is often a broad agreement among nations on the need to liberalize this trade, as a result, barriers can often be eliminated more quickly and easily compared to traditional FTAs."

Read more: The May Brexit red line in the customs union could be nearby

Maintaining the customs union would help restart the talks in Brussels and help avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit, a subject that now It is an obstacle in conversations. May has ruled it out repeatedly, even when some of her officials want her to accept it. A vote in Parliament this week will confirm how much support policy has among lawmakers.

The risk is that a change in policy could cause some like Fox or Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to resign and precipitate a government crisis. But, what if they can find a way to square the circle?

Read more: Boris Johnson declines to say if he would resign by Customs Union

– With the badistance of Tim Ross


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