London Wants 'Smooth' Trade With EU for Post-Brexit Transition Period

Theresa May with her husband Philip in Italy last month. She returns from holiday today

Theresa May with her husband Philip in Italy last month. She returns from holiday today

The two ministers suggest: "We believe a time-limited interim period will be important to further our national interest and give business greater certainty - but it can not be indefinite; it can not be a back door to staying in the EU".

In what was due to be published this week, British government ministers planned to set out their aims for the Brexit talks.

"We are both clear that during this period the United Kingdom will be outside the customs union and will be a "third country", not a party to EU treaties".

On his first official visit to Northern Ireland earlier this month, the Taoiseach even put forward his own suggestions for a "soft Brexit" - including the possibility of creating a new EU-UK customs union.

They write that there will be a "time-limited" transition period that would "further our national interest and give business greater certainty", but insist that Brexit will not be halted.

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They will start with one covering the thorny issues of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic to be followed in the autumn by a second series looking at the future relationship with the European Union, including post-Brexit customs arrangements.

"We will leave the customs union and be free to negotiate the best trade deals around the world as an independent, open, trading nation", the article said.

Barnier has expressed concern that the first two rounds have failed to produce clarity on the key issues and that there was "a clock ticking" towards the date in 2019 when Britain would be out of the bloc.

The papers will outline the UK's negotiating position on areas such as our customs arrangements, including the issue of whether there should be a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Brexit Minister David Davis (L) and EU Chief Negotiator in charge of Brexit negotiations Michel Barnier seen at a press conference at the EU Commission Headquarters in Brussels, on July 20, 2017.

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Free movement for Irish citizens in and out of Britain is expected to continue after Brexit, with the establishment of a Schengen-style area between Ireland and Britain created to resolve the border problem.

A second batch of papers will be released ahead of an October meeting of the European Council، when EU leaders are expected to decide whether enough progress has been made to proceed to talks on a future relationship.

Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggered the Brexit process on March 29 and divorce negotiations officially began on June 19.

In June, the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier called for "more ambition, clarity and guarantees" around the protection of European Union citizens living in the UK.

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