June 4, 2018 / 6:36 PM / a year ago

UK business warns May post-Brexit frictionless trade more important than tariffs - source

LONDON, June 4 (Reuters) - British business leaders warned Prime Minister Theresa May during a meeting on Monday that maintaining frictionless trade with the European Union after Brexit was probably more important than any tariff levels, a source told Reuters.

May and several top ministers met business chiefs including the bosses of pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline, supermarket Tesco, carmaker Aston Martin, telecoms firm BT and construction company Balfour Beatty to discuss Brexit.

“A frictionless border is probably even more important than the levy or tariff,” a source familiar with the contents of the meeting told Reuters when asked about what May had been told.

“Several people around the table said that,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

May’s government is divided over two alternatives regarding which customs arrangement to seek with the European Union after the end of a transitional period designed to bridge Britain out of the bloc, which ends in 2020.

Business leaders were told a decision from ministers was “imminent”, the source said.

A spokeswoman at May’s office was not available when called by Reuters for comment. (Reporting By Costas Pitas. Editing by Andrew MacAskill)

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