With less than 300 days to go until the UK leaves the European Union, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is urging government to take decisive steps to agree the format and parameters of Britain’s future trading relationships with its European neighbours, to ensure that the country can continue to trade efficiently after Brexit.
The Association, which represents more than 16,000 businesses involved in all sectors of the UK’s logistics industry, has today (7 February 2018) written to Prime Minister Theresa May requesting swift agreement on the format and timescales for the UK’s future trading relationships with Europe, to enable British businesses to plan for a seamless transition to new trading and customs arrangements.
“British businesses have heard enough talking – what’s needed now is a concrete solution to enable all those involved in moving goods and services across the UK’s borders to plan with certainty for a post-Brexit future,” says James Hookham, the FTA’s deputy CEO. “The time for discussions is over – what the country’s businesses need now is action, to keep trading Britain trading without penalty or hindrance.
“FTA’s membership, of more than 16,000 logistics suppliers, needs confirmation – on the length and nature of the transition period and the arrangements for trade during that time; on whether the UK will continue to benefit from current EU trading agreements during the transition; the nature and scale of customs arrangements and tariffs to be used; the status of EU workers within the UK; where and how will tariffs and certifications be implemented, and which documentation will be required for drivers and vehicles.”
Today’s (7 February 2018) Haulage Permits & Trailer Registration Bill, which begins its process through parliament this afternoon, should provide some clarity for logistics operators on the nature and scope of the permits they will be required to obtain from May 2019, which will enable vehicles to continue to move freely across the UK’s borders. However, the outcomes of the bill still have to be agreed with Michel Barnier’s team at the European Parliament, in order to ensure that the EU27 will adhere to the UK’s proposed solutions for cross-border traffic.
“Businesses should only have to change their trading procedures once,” concludes Mr Hookham. “The clock is ticking and contracts are already being negotiated for dates beyond Brexit day in 2019. Leaving the logistics industry in limbo will cost the economy – and consumers – money, and no one voted to be poor as a result of the Brexit referendum. It’s time for the government to make the decisions which will keep Britain trading successfully.”