UK wants trade with EU to be as frictionless as possible: PM May’s spokesman

A European Union flag is waved in front of Big Ben outside Parliament after Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the process by which the United Kingdom will leave the European Union in London

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement with the European Union which will allow trade to be as frictionless as possible once it has left the bloc, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Thursday.

Earlier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned British ministers and businesses who are calling for “frictionless trade” with the EU after Britain leaves that it is “not possible”.

Asked about the comments, the spokesman told reporters: “We’ve set out our relationship that we seek … we want a comprehensive free trade agreement and a new customs agreement which allows for trade which is as frictionless as possible.”

“Obviously we are just at the beginning of the negotiations, but I would say that the most frictionless as possible trade between the UK and the EU is clearly in the interests of both sides.”

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper, Writing by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by William James)