- 4.1 What is the EU Customs Union?
The EU customs union is a system under which all the Member States follow a set of common rules in exercising customs controls over goods entering the EU from the outside. The core of this system of controls is the levying of tariffs and the imposition of trade quotas under the EU’s Common Customs Tariff; but the controls exercised by customs also extend far beyond tariffs to a huge range of other matters, such as checking food for compliance with health standards and checking that consumer goods comply with safety rules (such as limiting lead in children’s toys).
- 4.2 Staying in the EU Customs Union after exit
The 2017 General Election Conservative Manifesto proposed that the UK should seek “a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement”, but should not remain in the EU customs union or single market. UKIP’s Manifesto also rejects staying inside the EU customs union or single market. The DUP Manifesto took a similar line to the Conservative Manifesto, so in theory an absolute majority of the House of Commons, consisting of the Conservatives and the DUP who support the government under a confidence and supply agreement, reject customs union membership after we have left the EU.