EU Exit Negotiations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:54 pm on 5th September 2017.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 4:54 pm, 5th September 2017

First, on customs borders and frictionless trade, there was a lot of attention on my visit to Washington last week, but I went straight from there to Detroit to look at the American-Canadian border. That has always been a very open border. I have traded across it myself, so I know it well. The average clearance time for a vehicle going through that border—there is a choke point—is 53 seconds. When we clear containers from outside the European Union area, we can clear 98% of them in four to five seconds. Technology can accelerate these things enormously well, and that is what we are aiming to do.

With respect to the negotiating round, we stand ready to do anything to accelerate the process. This process was asked for by the Commission. We must bear in mind that it has a very stiff, rigid, structured mandate process: it draws up its lines, negotiates, goes back to report to the other 27, and starts the cycle again. I do not know whether it is possible to get continuous negotiation that way. If it is, we would be happy to go along with it.