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The art and antiques associations praised the fresh clarity but have vowed to continue to lobby the government for a deal that benefits the industry.

May’s speech laid out a 12-point Brexit plan including a decision to leave the single market, a plan for a new customs agreement with the EU and new trade ties with countries outside the EU.

Anthony Browne, chairman of British Art Market Federation, who is leading the art market’s discussions with the government, told ATG: “The fact government has clarified that we are leaving the single market gives us a much clearer picture of the types of arrangements on offer. The speech reduced the unknowns.”

He said BAMF is in discussion with members over detailed points to take to government including on the movement of objects across borders, export controls and tax.

He added: “We aim to ensure unnecessary regulation that burdens the many small businesses in the art trade is reduced.”

Rebecca Davies, the chief executive of LAPADA The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers, said: “The first thing is that we now have some clarity. It was reassuring that businesses will be given time to adapt through a phased transition period, but the devil will be in the detail on that, so I look forward to hearing about how this will be managed.”

Imports and Exports

Leaving the single market could mean changes for imports and exports between the UK and the EU which could be a concern for dealers.

The British Antique Dealers' Association secretary general Mark Dodgson, said: “We will be pressing the government to negotiate the best possible deal, so dealers are not be subjected to the paperwork and border controls that currently apply when goods are imported from the US for example.  We don’t want to see dealers held up at the border and asked to account for import VAT when they carry back on Eurostar works of art bought in Paris.”

He added: “However there is also tremendous opportunity to develop the way the trade operates globally and we will be working to ensure the best possible outcome for our members.”

Browne said the voice of the art market is being heard by government and added: “I want to reassure our members we have been having continued discussions with government at a high level.”

Davies concluded: “We will be watching EU member states’ reaction very carefully in the coming weeks so that we can be proactive in ensuring we create the best possible environment for business.”