David Davis has said the UK should be able to sign free trade deals during any transition period agreed with the European Union.
Speaking at a conference this morning, Davis said Britain "will be a third country and act as one too" after March 2019, which means it should be able to sign new deals with a view to implementing them as soon as the transition period ends.
The nature of the transition period has been a source of contention in the Cabinet, with members disagreeing over whether it should be a "status-quo" transition or a period during which the UK should be able to follow an independent trade policy.
Today, Davis recognised the importance of a transition for both UK and European business, and said they should only have adjust to a rule-change once.
“Businesses need time to get their house in order and, by the way, that's European businesses and British businesses," he said.
Calls to start trade talks
The Brexit secretary reiterated his demand for the two sides to begin talking trade, saying that December's meeting of the European Council will be crucial.
"It’s become clearer with each negotiating round that we now must start talking about our future relationship," Davis said.
“The Northern Ireland border cannot be fully addressed if we’re not taking into account the shape of our future partnership with the European Union. Final resolution to the financial settlement depends on it, because nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."