Johnson criticises “crazy” plans
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been told to stop talking about Brexit after he said that Prime Minister’s ideas for trade with the European Union (EU) were “crazy”. As a member of the EU, the UK is in a customs union, but after Brexit we’ll leave it. This means the UK and EU will need new arrangements.
What is a customs union?
A customs union is an agreement between a group of countries, such as the EU. Businesses in EU countries don’t have to pay tariffs (a tax paid to a government) on any products they import (buy) or export (sell) from each other, and each EU country has to charge the same tariff when they trade with non-EU countries.
What will change after Brexit?
After Brexit, because the UK will no longer be part of the EU customs union, it will be able to decide what tariffs should be charged on imports and exports.
How will this work?
The Government is considering two options. One is known as maximum facilitation – or max fac for short. With this, businesses would pay all their tariffs every few months, rather than when their goods crossed the UK border. Some companies say this would be more expensive for them. There would also have to be border checks between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and Ireland, which is in the EU. The second option is a customs partnership. With this, the UK would collect EU tariffs (money) on all goods that come into the UK, and businesses would have to ask for a refund if the British tariff was cheaper. The UK would then send any money it owed to the EU.
Why did Johnson criticise the Prime Minister?
Johnson told The Daily Mail newspaper the customs partnership proposal – which is said to be the plan that the Prime Minister prefers – would make it very difficult for the UK to make its own trade deals. Some people think the UK may not be able to charge tariffs as low as the EU, and this may mean the UK loses business. Experts also worry that there would still have to be checks at the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said Johnson and other critics in the Government should be quiet because their comments could make it harder for the Prime Minister to do a deal with the EU. May has said she needs everyone’s “help and support” because Brexit is complicated. Johnson has since said that he thinks the Prime Minister’s position is “the right one”.
Boris Johnson campaigned to leave the EU.