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British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for the European Union leaders summit at the European Council on December 14, 2017 in Brussels.
The EU’s customs union is a trade agreement that eliminates customs duties between EU member states. The single market is a deeper form of co-operation between member states that allows the free movement of goods, services, money, and people in the bloc. The ruling Conservative party in the U.K. currently want to exit both when the country leaves the EU.
The 6-page document on Wednesday called for zero tariffs and quotas on goods but placed a rider that the European Union should continue to have full fishing rights in British waters. The text also suggested that any dispute settlement arising from the future U.K.-EU relationship should be overseen by the European Court of Justice. Both of these issues are likely to cause concern for strong Brexit proponents in the country.
Following its release, Tusk said that as the U.K. has repeatedly stated it wants to leave the single market, the customs union and the jurisdiction of the ECJ, then only trade would be left to discuss.
“Therefore it should come as no surprise that the only remaining possible withdrawal is a free trade agreement,” he said. “I hope it will be ambitious and advanced and we will do our best as we did with other partners such as Canada recently, but anyway it will only be a trade agreement,” Tusk added.