Britain aiming for outline Brexit transition deal by Q1 2018: Minister David Davis

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis giving evidence to the Exiting the European Union Committee of members of parliament at the Houses of Parliament in London on Oct 25, 2017. PHOTO: AFP/PRU

LONDON (REUTERS) - Britain wants an outline agreement with the European Union on the transitional arrangements that will apply after it leaves the bloc by the first quarter of 2018, Brexit minister David Davis said on Wednesday (Oct 25).

Britain is seeking a so-called implementation period of around two years following its departure from the EU in March 2019, during which its access to the EU single market would stay largely unchanged while new arrangements are put in place.

Businesses are keen to see the details of such a deal as soon as possible to end uncertainty over the trading rules they will face after Britain leaves the bloc.

"I would be aiming to get certainly the outlines of it agreed, if we could, in the first quarter (of 2018)... but it's a negotiation," Davis told a parliamentary committee.

Last week, EU leaders said at a summit in Brussels that they would begin preparations to move into "phase two" of the Brexit negotiations in December, a step forward that would allow London to discuss its future trade relationship with the bloc.

Davis said he expected to receive guidance from the EU on its approach to a transitional period by December, and that a deal allowing Britain to maintain similar conditions to those it currently has with the EU would be struck quickly afterwards.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.