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Mansion House speech: TechUK welcomes plans to maintain customs union arrangements for period after Brexit

The UK tech industry’s trade association has welcomed the government’s plans for the UK to abide by the rules of the European customs union for a period after Brexit.

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, said in his Mansion House speech that a frictionless customs arrangement could be secured as Britain transitions out of the EU.

“We’ll almost certainly need an implementation period, outside the customs union itself, but with current customs border arrangements remaining in place, until new long-term arrangements are up and running,” said Hammond.

Julian David, TechUK CEO, described the measure as a practical step: “His commitment to sticking to the rules of the customs union for a period post-Brexit in order to prevent a cliff edge is both sensible and responsible.”

David also called for the UK to remain a member of the single market for a five year period after Brexit to avoid a “crash landing that “would put jobs and investment in jeopardy”. Hammond did not comment on the possibility of extending membership of the single market.

The Chancellor said that maintaining free trade across our borders and maintaining the land border on Ireland would be challenging: “It will almost certainly involve the deployment of new technology.”

He added that steps would be taken to increase the amount of money the British Business Bank invests in venture capital funds over the coming the months. Details of the commitment will be unveiled in the autumn statement.