September 12, 2017 / 4:12 PM / 6 months ago

UK customs ready for 'no deal' Brexit, Chancellor says

LONDON (Reuters) - British customs authorities will be able to cope even if the government is unable to reach a deal with the European Union to smooth Britain’s departure from the bloc, Chancellor Philip Hammond said on Tuesday.

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond leaves 11 Downing Street in London, September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

“(Customs agency) HMRC is preparing for all eventualities, including for a no-deal scenario,” Hammond told the economic affairs committee of Britain’s upper legislative chamber.

“We recognise that the timescales are very challenging, and in a no-deal scenario, not everything we would want to put in place will be in place on day one. But we will have a working system in place on day one, I have that assurance from HMRC.”

Hammond said the government was seeking the smoothest possible customs arrangements as part of a negotiated exit from the EU, which is due to take place in March 2019.

Reporting by David Milliken and William Schomberg, editing by Estelle Shirbon

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