Freight News

At last they’re listening, says FTA

[ September 26, 2017   //   ]

With the latest round of Brexit negotiations getting underway in Brussels in late September, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) welcomed the call from Prime Minister Teresa May for a transition period.

It said it had been lobbying for such a period since Article 50 was triggered, to enable the preparation of the necessary systems and processes to ensure that post-Brexit trade can run smoothly.

FTA’s head of European policy, Pauline Bastidon, said: “Mrs May’s speech in Florence finally recognised the complexities of the trading relationships and processes which will need to be agreed and implemented.”

She declared that May’s call for a transitional period, to give enough time for negotiators to conclude a trade agreement, and for authorities and businesses to adapt, would be “a huge relief for a logistics industry charged with ensuring that trade continues to move smoothly after Brexit.  The government has finally acknowledged the scale and complexities of the task ahead to ensure frictionless trade across borders with the European Union, both mainland Europe and in Ireland.”

However, it is now imperative that May’s intentions are followed by concrete actions, Bastidon continued. “Customers need to be certain that vehicles and planes can keep moving, that drivers can operate across borders and supply chains will not have to face insurmountable challenges overnight on Brexit day.  Setting up the necessary arrangements for post-Brexit trade will take time and effort to get right and both industry and the authorities deserve some certainty that the status quo will prevail until all parties are ready to proceed with new arrangements.”

Ms Bastidon also urged clarity from the government’s negotiators on the situation regarding trading arrangements with Ireland, which were missing from Mrs May’s speech: “The trading position with Ireland is a hugely complex one, and creative solutions are required to ensure that a hard border is not established between the Republic and Northern Ireland.  Many businesses operate on an “island of Ireland” basis and would be negatively impacted by any changes affecting the fluidity of trade and transport movements across the border.”