Brexit minister says UK ideally seeking tariff-free access to EU single market

September 1, 2016 9:43 AM EDT

Britain's Minister for Brexit, David Davies arrives for a cabinet meeting in Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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By Amanda Ferguson

BELFAST (Reuters) - Britain is ideally seeking tariff-free access to the European Union's single market combined with curbs on immigration, the minister in charge of negotiating the country's exit from the bloc said on Thursday.

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday she was seeking a unique relationship with the European Union, in an apparent rejection of suggestions from other EU states that Britain must choose between free trade and migration limits.

"With respect to access to the single market, what we will seek to do is ideally have a tariff-free access but this is a matter of negotiation," David Davis told reporters in Northern Ireland.

"We will be negotiating over an issue I suspect is in the interest of other members of the EU and others to get a good trading relationship in the long run," he said.

Davis said he agreed with the priorities May had put forward at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, including limits on immigration.

"We have to take control of our borders and have to be able to control the number of people Coming into UK," he added.

Britain's Telegraph newspaper earlier this week cited senior government sources as saying Davis believed Britain could only curb immigration if the country leaves the single market.

Supporters of Brexit received a boost on Thursday when a survey showed British manufacturing staging one of its sharpest rebounds on record in August, prompting the pound to soar by more than a cent against the dollar.

Finance Minister Philip Hammond said post-Brexit Britain would be an "outward-looking country" that would seek to attract companies to invest and grow.

May is to tell world leaders at a G20 summit of leaders in China later this week that Britain is "open for business", and will seek to forge relationship with new markets and make the most of the opportunity of leaving the bloc, her office said.

(Reporting by Amanda Ferguson; Writing by Conor Humphries; editing by Stephen Addison)

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