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Practical solutions not politics will keep post-Brexit Britain trading

24 September 2018

FTA is deeply concerned by the lack of progress in Brexit negotiations and the rhetoric used on both sides in the past few days.

With the threat of No Deal looming on the horizon, FTA is urging the UK and EU-27 leaders, including the European Commission, to prioritise urgent and co-ordinated mitigation measures, focused on trading areas which will not be able to function without agreements, like air freight and international haulage, to keep trade flowing freely after the UK leaves the EU.

“With so much political posturing playing out in the media, it is easy to forget that there are deeply integrated supply chains and jobs at risk if things go wrong,” says Pauline Bastidon, Head of European Policy at FTA. “In the event of No Deal – a scenario identified as a serious possibility by both sides - new agreements would be needed to allow trucks, planes and trains to cross the borders with the EU, keep goods flowing and shops and factories supplied.

“Border delays and disruptions, as well as additional costs and red tape are serious worries for our members, but the biggest showstopper of them all would be drastic reductions to the international movement of freight vehicles and planes. The main priority for the logistics sector is to obtain clarification on how these vehicles, planes and freight trains are to operate cross-border after Brexit; simply saying that things will be sorted out or that both sides will take unilateral measures in isolation, as suggested repeatedly on the EU side, is no insurance or reassurance for businesses which are currently negotiating contracts with no knowledge of whether or not they will be able to provide the services they are committed to without market access being permitted.

“Our plea is for both sides to start working on contingency plans and mitigating measures for transport as an urgent priority, so that businesses can rely on a co-ordinated plan and legal certainties, even in the event of a No Deal outcome. The logistics sector is a problem solver, but there is only so much we can do if we are forced to approach this blindfolded and with our hands tied.”