Britain maintains hopes of tariff-free trade with Europe according to Brexit secretary David Davis, despite the government saying any deal “must” include curbs on free movement.
Theresa May has stressed she is keen to secure a “unique” relationship with the EU, and despite suggestions from Europe that free trade is incompatible with migration limits, Davis said the UK remains optimistic.
Speaking in Northern Ireland today, he said: “With respect to access to the single market, what we will seek to do is ideally have a tariff-free access but this is a matter of negotiation.
“We will be negotiating over an issue I suspect is in the interest of other members of the EU and others to get a good trading relationship in the long run.”
The UK's border with the Republic of Ireland was a source of concern during the referendum campaign, and May has since suggested “borders of the past” should not return.
And after meeting Northern Irish first minister Arlene Foster, Davis said both Britain and Ireland want to maintain open borders.
“There are other places in Europe that don't have hard borders with places outside the union,” Davis said.
It comes as May's government begins to outline exactly what their priorities will be in the aftermath of Brexit.
After stating yesterday the UK “must” secure reforms on free movement, chancellor Philip Hammond this morning said the UK would remain “an outward-facing country” that would attract investment from overseas companies.
Meanwhile, new figures show British manufacturing rebounding through August, after it had plummeted in the aftermath of the June referendum.