Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley: My Lords, will my noble friend reassure those noble Lords who seem to think that a customs union arrangement would be superior to the free trade agreement that we seek because it would avoid, among other things, the need for customs declarations, that this is not a view shared by most other countries, including the main partners of the European Union? Switzerland does not seek a customs union; its traders have to fill in customs declarations. Norway and the other EFTA members do not seek a customs union; they have to fill in customs declarations. Canada and Mexico do not seek a customs union with America; they have to fill in customs declarations. Why are they all assumed to be wrong and self-harming when we are not?

    Baroness Evans of Bowes Park: I thank my noble friend for his observations. As I have said, in parallel with the negotiations we will be having with the EU, we intend to launch negotiations with other global partners so that we can end up having strong, positive trade deals with the EU and across the globe and make sure that we continue to play a role as the global Britain we all know we are.

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