No Brexit Renaissance in Florence

Theresa May has likely said enough in her Florence speech 22 September 2017 to move Brexit negotiations forward in Brussels next week. There were no detailed revelations but it may be enough to break the high level political log-jam. However for us, looking for real steps forward, it feels more along the lines of shuffling the deckchairs on the deck than a whole new direction of travel for the good-ship “UK-BREXIT”

In our area of concern: Customs, Mrs May tells us she does not want a blank sheet of paper start post 2019, nor does she see EEA or CETA as the models for a future Customs relationship. She also makes clear she does not expect tariffs between the UK and the EU and that magical friction-less border is important.

It is made clear again the UK is seeking a new,novel,innovative agreement with the EU, apparently with all the features and benefits of being in the current Customs Union – just outside the EU.

A wholesale re-shaping of the rules of how we operate our cross border processes and systems lies ahead inevitably preceded by several years of negotiation, uncertainty, interpretation,effort, system development and cost. It will bring opportunity for many but considerable effort to get there.

For many involved in the Customs aspects of the EU supply chain the PM’s Florence speech will not move things far forward or help with business planning or activity right now.

We remain light on detail and short on time to make this step change happen. The government have to determine the rules, it is business and supporting commercial providers that have to deliver the reality.

At least we now know we will get 2 more years to do that work, let’s be thankful for small mercies.

Clearlight Customs provide Customs,Import and Export training,business support and consultancy. Contact our team on 01283 553099 or visit us at


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