What is the difference between a customs union and the customs union?

The difference is essentially the range and depth of co-operation that exists in terms of trading goods. At its most basic, a customs union involves charging the same tariffs on goods from outside the union and removing tariffs on goods moving within it.

The (EU) customs union is a more comprehensive set of arrangements, including exchanging information and collecting data, as well as trading goods tariff free.

However, it has been UK government policy to leave the customs union mainly to have sole control of its tariffs so it can negotiate trade deals independently, but membership of a customs union with the EU would also mean the UK would not control its tariffs.

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