>> The beginning of a->> It's now clear that Britain will leave the EU's single market post-Brexit. But the UK prime minister's desire for a customs agreement with the block is causing confusion and concern. Theresa May said on Tuesday she wants the UK to be able to strike trade pacts with countries like the US, Australia, and China, and acknowledge that full membership of the EU's Customs Union would stop this.
But she insisted she wants to work out a special deal. Reuters Phil Blenkinsop is following the story in Brussels.>> If you're a member of a Customs Union, you all then subject to the tariffs, and even the zero tariffs, that the European Union might agree with other countries.
Which means it's very difficult to do trade deals of your own, which obviously is one of the things that the Brexit supporters are championing.>> With a free trade deal, Britain might avoid the standard EU import tariffs. But without a customs agreement, the UK would face having to prove its exported products are indeed British.
>> There is a really high price attached to doing that. If you take, for example, a car.>> There are 20,000, 30,000 individual components, and you need to kind of do a kind of a manifest of all of those to work out whether the product is actually made in Britain.
>> Some observers have called May's position confused. It's not clear whether the partial or associate customs union membership she is after is practical or even possible. Regardless, May's determined to wrap everything up in two years. That's far faster than any trade deal the EU has ever negotiated. Critics have said it could take up to ten, but the European Commission has expressed frustration with the plodding pace on other deals.
>> When Jean-Claude Juncker spoke only last week to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, he said we are friends and allies. We should be able to this with the same free trade agreement, in this case in two or three years. And obviously the question is whether Jean-Claude Juncker thinks Britain is also a friend and ally with which it can do a deal in two or three years.