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Senedd votes to back continued membership of EU Single Market and new-look customs union.

ASSEMBLY Members at the Senedd voted to support the UK's continued participation in the European Single Market and in a customs union with the EU.

Originally a Plaid Cymru motion calling for the UK to have continued membership of the current EU Customs Union, it was amended by Labour to reflect Jeremy Corbyn's change of policy this week to support the creation of a new customs union rather than the existing one.

Proposing the motion, Plaid leader Leanne Wood said the difference between membership of the Customs Union and of "a" customs union was "more than mere semantics".

She said: "Membership of the Customs Union allows the UK to trade freely in all goods across Europe.

"Crucially, membership of the Customs Union gives the UK access to over 50 countries outside the EU.

"A bilateral customs union with the EU, on the other hand, which is what the UK Labour Party is advocating, is essentially an undefined freetrade agreement which will give us access to a limited set of goods."

Economy Secretary Ken Skates disagreed, arguing that it wasn't legally possible for the UK to remain in the Customs Union after Brexit.

He added: "The UK could, nonetheless, negotiate a new customs union with the EU as part of our post-Brexit arrangements, which would involve us retaining the common external tariff. Taken with a firm commitment to continuing to work within the regulatory framework of the Single Market, this would enable goods to circulate between the EU and the UK on much the same basis as today."

The motion was passed as amended by Labour by 27 votes to 23.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2018
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