UK formally rejects Brexit transition extension
Topics: BREXIT UK
Michael Gove, the British cabinet office minister, said Friday in a tweet that he formally confirmed the decision.
"I formally confirmed the UK will not extend the transition period & the moment for extension has now passed. On 1 January 2021 we will take back control and regain our political and economic independence," he said.
Meanwhile, the British government confirmed a new three-stage plan for border controls and procedures in 2021, pledging to take "flexible and pragmatic" approach to give industry extra time to make necessary arrangements.
Britain will introduce new border controls in three stages up until July 1, 2021. From January 2021, traders importing standard goods, covering everything from clothes to electronics, will need to prepare for basic customs requirements and will have up to six months to complete customs declarations and tariff payment.
From April 2021, all products of animal origin, for example meat, pet food, honey, milk or egg products, and all regulated plants and plant products will also require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation.
From July 2021, traders moving all goods will have to make declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs.
On Thursday, Gove told MPs that the British government is not gambling with the European Union (EU) over Brexit despite the stalled trade talks between the two sides, insisting that Britain will not extend transition period beyond Dec. 31.
"Under no circumstances will the government accept an extension. Indeed, we have a domestic law obligation not to accept. Extending would simply delay the moment at which we achieve what we want and what the country voted for ... our economic and political independence," he said.
Britain and the EU concluded their fourth round of talks last week, during which they made no progress on the most difficult areas where differences of principle are most acute, notably on fisheries, governance arrangements and the so-called level playing field.
The focus will now switch to a crucial meeting next Monday between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
Britain ended its EU membership on Jan. 31 but is still following EU rules during the transition period until Dec. 31 to enable a permanent future trade deal to be reached. During this period, Britain would have to pay into EU funds but have no say in laws imposed by Brussels. ■