An interesting development reported by  a number of news sources, and in this case, the Daily Telegraph:

The Brexit Secretary will on Tuesday publish a paper in which he agrees not to implement any new free trade deals until after an “interim” transition period. The document will state that Britain is seeking “freest and most frictionless possible trade in goods between the UK and the EU”.

The move is intended to reassure businesses that they will not face a “cliff-edge” after Brexit and face tariffs on goods and new customs checks when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019. However Mr Davis will insist that the UK can use the time to formally negotiate and sign free trade deals with nations outside the EU that will be implemented afterwards.

That said, just because the UK suggests it, doesn’t mean Brussels will accept it.  And I’m not sure why Brussels would want agree to such terms, especially since they include no mention of the free movement of people, a key requirement pushed by the EU.

Then there is the issue of basic negotiation strategy.  A temporary accord would presumably give Britain more leverage in its negotiations with Brussels since it could help the UK secure a soft landing—via new trade deals with third countries—should Britain’s bargaining with Brussels end up going poorly.  So if Brussels wants to extract the most concessions possible from UK, I would presume the EU would want to hold the UK to a strict (and highly constrained) timetable, all else being equal.

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