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Come clean on post-Brexit trade, forwarder tells government

[ January 28, 2020   //   ]

Director of Leeds-based Tudor International Freight Adam Johnson has called on the government to be more open about its post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU, following Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid’s remarks that “there will not be alignment” between British and EU rules following the transition period.

He said the chancellor’s remarks followed speculation that the government would agree to continuing significant British alignment with EU rules after the transition period, which some commentators say would be necessary if a free trade deal was to be agreed and ratified by the year-end.

He said: “Bodies representing major British industries set to be particularly affected by any retreat from alignment, including car and food manufacturing, warned that the chancellor’s comments appeared to sound the death knell for frictionless trade with the EU, which buys almost half our exports. Maintaining arrangements which were as seamless as possible had been an aim of government policy previously.

“Those trade organisations also said such divergence could cost British companies billions of pounds, damage manufacturers and may well result in price rises.”

Mr Johnson said he believed that companies trading with the EU were uneasy about the chancellor’s comments on alignment. He added: “A wider lesson from this episode, however, is British businesses remain largely in the dark about the government’s objectives for the forthcoming negotiations and still don’t know exactly what they’re supposed to be planning for.”

He it would be helpful if the government could issue comprehensive written negotiating objectives, ideally after consulting industry representative bodies.

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