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Landmark Customs Arrangement signed

26 November 2018

The Minister for External Relations has today signed a Jersey / UK Customs Arrangement, which establishes a customs union between Jersey and the United Kingdom. Similar arrangements were agreed, in parallel, between the UK and Guernsey, and the UK and the Isle of Man. 

Collectively these arrangements will establish a UK – Crown Dependencies customs union which is essential for us to trade under a number of different scenarios after the UK leaves the EU.

The two essential elements of establishing a customs union are that the parties agree:

  • not to impose import tariffs for goods passing between themselves
  • to impose a common external tariff on goods from places outside the customs union

The arrangement signed today means Jersey will be able to continue to trade with the UK free of tariffs, with no restrictions on quantities.

Jersey and the UK are currently in a customs union with the EU and apply the EU’s common external tariff, but that will change on leaving the EU Customs Union. It’s important to secure this union with the UK to allow frictionless, free trade with the UK to continue. 

While it has been the case for several centuries that neither the UK nor Jersey has imposed import tariffs on goods produced in the other’s territory, after leaving the customs union it will be essential to put in place a practical mechanism whereby we will impose the same common external tariffs as the UK on goods traded at the border.

We also agreed the following:

  • tariff free movement of all types of good between Jersey and the UK, with no quantitative restrictions on imports
  • the ability to impose prohibitions or restrictions at border for specific reasons
  • participation in a new Joint UK CD Customs Committee
  • retention of Jersey’s autonomy in fiscal matters
  • autonomy in maintaining local customs IT systems

Officials have worked hard over a number of months to achieve this outcome. Jersey’s Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst, said: “I have often said that one of the Government’s key Brexit objectives has been to continue the fundamentals of Jersey’s existing relationship with the UK, and this included maintaining the close customs and free trade relationship with the UK.

“The arrangement I signed today achieves that. Lord Keen wrote to me last week about the unprecedented level of cooperation between us and I am pleased that the signing of this customs arrangement has been an important success in our centuries-old constitutional relationship. This arrangement also lays the basis for a positive outcome for our future relationship with the EU.”

Senator Gorst added, “I lodged the draft EU law on Customs, Import and Export Control in October, and this will be debated on 4 December. These Regulations, if approved, will create the powers necessary to implement the customs union with the UK that has just been agreed.

“This timing is testimony to the careful planning we have been undertaking for UK exit, which has enabled us to move swiftly when required.  I would like to recognise the work of those officials who worked over a number of months to secure Jersey’s interests.”​

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