Treasury chief: UK may need 3-year transition after Brexit

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, right, meets staff as he tours the IBM office on South Bank, London, as the preliminary estimates for 2017 Q2 GDP are published, Wednesday July 26, 2017. The economy grew by a quarterly rate of 0.3 percent in April-June, a meager rate that is barely above the 0.2 percent of the first three months of the year, the Office of National Statistics said Wednesday. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool Photo via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Treasury chief says the country will abide by some European Union rules for up to three years after it officially leaves the bloc in March 2019.

Philip Hammond says a transition period is needed “to get from the status quo today to the new normal.” He says the transition should end before Britain’s next election, scheduled for 2022.

Many businesses accuse the government of sending mixed signals about Brexit. Officials say Britain will leave the bloc’s single market and customs union, and end free movement from EU countries.

But officials also say the changes, which have huge economic implications, won’t happen overnight.

Hammond told Sky News on Friday that a transition period will let businesses “go on operating normally” while Britain works out its post-Brexit relationship with the EU.

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