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FTA asks Gove for more time

[ June 10, 2020   //   ]

The Freight Transport Association has written to Michael Gove asking for sufficient time allowed at the end of the negotiations to enable the logsitics industry to adapt to new arrangements, whatever is agreed.

Policy director Elizabeth de Jong said on 10 June  that it looked looks more and more likely that consensus will not be reached between the two sides until the eleventh hour, at the end of the UK’s transition period for leaving the EU ending on 31 December 2020 and there will not be enough time to put in place all the necessary systems and processes to help trade continue to run smoothly.  This will be compounded by the fact that Christmas is traditionally the busiest time of year and there will be little time available for the necessary changes to be made.

She said: “Much of the detail of our future trading arrangements as a country is still to be decided – not least what the position will be on customs tariffs and the detail of how checks on food and animals are to be conducted at the UK and EU borders.  This level of information is crucial if the UK’s supply chain is to remain strong from 1 January 2021, and we are urging Mr Gove to ensure that we have sufficient time to prepare for whatever is agreed with the EU in political negotiations.

Up to a quarter of a million UK businesses will be required to make customs declarations for the first time when the UK leaves the EU, and that will need additional training, staff and customs agents, as well as infrastructure in our ports.  Checks on livestock, fresh food and other perishable items will also need to be made at ports and airports, and the industry needs clarity on how and where this process will work.

She added: “Like the rest of the economy, logistics has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, and while the challenges have been huge, goods and services are still moving along our supply chain.  Now we need time to ensure we are fully prepared for our next big challenge – the departure of the UK from the EU.   That is a challenge which will take months, not minutes, to implement correctly.”

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