The British government is facing pressure to clarify its stance on a post-Brexit customs union with the EU after contrasting statements from key ministers.
A report from the Financial Times has indicated that chancellor Philip Hammond and business secretary Greg Clark are in favor of remaining in a customs union for goods even after the UK leaves the EU.
Prime minister Theresa May has been adamant that Britain will leave the existing EU customs union, but during her trip to China did not rule out retaining a degree of unification in its approach to customs, with the aim of ensuring frictionless trade.
However, trade secretary Liam Fox has offered a significantly different view, saying that a customs union arrangement would limit the UK's ability to pursue its own independent trade policies.
Mr Fox told Bloomberg TV: "We have to be outside of that to take advantage of those growing markets. One of the reasons we are leaving the EU is to take control, and that's not possible with a common external tariff."