What is the customs union?

In the UK, this almost always refers to the EU’s customs union, which includes all EU members, plus Turkey, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino. The EU customs union goes much further than simply applying the same tariffs to goods imported from outside countries, for instance by using a system for exchanging information between countries on illegal goods.

For the UK, being a member of the customs union would essentially mean it could not negotiate trade deals independently, as it would not have sole control over the tariffs it charges and could not use them as a negotiating concession.

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