June 7, 2018 / 10:13 PM / 10 days ago

May wants 'end state' customs plan up and running by end 2021

CANADIAN FORCES BASE BAGOTVILLE, Quebec (Reuters) - Britain expects to have a permanent solution on post-Brexit customs arrangements in place by the end of 2021 at the latest, and it does not want to use the backstop arrangement it has proposed to Brussels in case of delays, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO - Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May walks out of 10 Downing Street to welcome Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg to Downing Street in London, June 6, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

“We expect that that end-state customs agreement will, at the latest, be in by December 2021, and we’ll be working to make sure that it is in earlier than that,” May told reporters on her way to the G7 summit in Canada. When asked twice if she could guarantee that outcome, she did not directly reply.

May wants the permanent solution ready by the end of December 2020, but earlier on Thursday she proposed a one-year backstop arrangement in case of technical difficulties in setting up a new system. Neither the new system nor the backstop have been agreed yet by Brussels.

Reporting by William James; Editing by Leslie Adler

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