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Ports call for clarity on post-Brexit trade plans

[ February 5, 2020   //   ]

The British Ports Association has called on the Government to clarify its “mixed messages” on post-Brexit trade. It follows a speech by the Prime Minister on 3 February in which he said he wanted “a comprehensive free trade agreement, similar to Canada’s”

However, said BPA, while Canada’s trading relationship with the EU is a free-trade agreement and includes some measure of alignment, the Prime Minister seemed to suggest that the UK is not seeking “alignment of any kind”.

BPA chief executive Richard Ballantyne, said: “The clock is ticking and the freight sector needs to understand exactly what border requirements there will be from January 2021. We have an excellent relationship with the various parts of Government that are planning for Brexit but now we need a clear and detailed statement on their positive vision for UK trade and industrial strategy – with Europe and the world – and how that will affect industries that rely on free-flowing trade through UK ports.

“The goalposts have been moved several times over the last three and a half years and this uncertainty must now end.”

BPA warns that it is now almost inevitable that the promise of continued “frictionless trade” will not be met. “UK ports have been preparing for disruption for three and a half years and are as ready as they can be. However, we remain concerned at the readiness of the wider freight industry and the capacity of the multitude of Government agencies that operate at the border,” Ballantyne added.

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