PM: ‘Relationship with UK will not change after Brexit’

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In a letter to Guernsey Chief Minister Gavin St Pier, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said her government remained committed to engaging with the Crown Dependencies as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

Her assurances come as Jersey’s External Relations Minister has lodged draft proposals which, if approved by the States, would ensure that tariff and quota-free trade continues between the Island and the UK through the creation of a new customs union between the jurisdictions.

Mrs May was responding to concerns raised by Deputy St Pier about the impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on the island.

However, Mrs May said that while the UK is putting plans in place in case negotiations with the EU collapse, she did not expect there to be a ‘no deal’ outcome when the UK leaves the union in March next year.

She said: ‘I want to be clear that the long-standing constitutional relationships between the UK and the Crown Dependencies will not change as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

‘I have given assurances publicly to that effect and the government has reiterated this in the white paper on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

‘Regarding our negotiations with the EU, we do not want or expect a no-deal scenario. Given the significant progress made in negotiations, we remain confident that we will agree a mutually advantageous deal with the EU.’

Mrs May also said that customs arrangements between the UK and the Crown Dependencies would ‘reaffirm
our long-standing, close trading relationships’.

During this week’s States sitting, External Relations Minister Ian Gorst said that Jersey’s preparation planning for a no-deal scenario would be issued shortly.

Senator Gorst has also lodged legislation with the aim of ensuring that effectively border-free trade between Jersey and the UK remains in place post-Brexit.

The draft EU Legislation (Customs Union, Import and Export Control) (Jersey) Regulations are due to be debated by the States on 4 December, with the aim of creating a new framework of powers so that a new customs union between the UK and Jersey can be established.

When the UK leaves the EU, which is due to happen on 29 March 2019, Jersey’s existing arrangements for tariff-free trade with both the UK and EU, which were established by protocol 3 of the UK’s Act of Accession in 1972, will be rescinded.

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