Responding to UK Prime Minister’s speech in Greenwich, the British Ports Association (BPA) has called on the Government to clarify the mixed messages on trade and set out a positive and detailed vision for the UK’s trade and industrial policy.
Talking about a future trading relationship with the EU, the Prime Minister said:
We have made our choice: We want a comprehensive free trade agreement, similar to Canada’s
According to BPA, Canada’s trading relationship with the EU is a free-trade agreement and includes some measure of alignment, although the Prime Minister seemed to suggest that the UK is not seeking alignment of any kind.
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Commenting on this speech, Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive of the British Ports Association, said that 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
He also added that the promise for a ‘frictionless trade’ will not be met. However, UK ports have been preparing for disruption for three and a half years, but they remain concerned about the readiness of the wider freight industry and the capacity of the multitude of Government agencies that operate at the border.
Concluding, BPA said that UK ports have made all reasonable preparations ahead of considerable uncertainty, and most ports will not see major congestion even in the worst scenarios.
Disruption at certain ports may mean increased costs for traders, manufacturers and ultimately potentially consumers. It is therefore critical that ports and the wider freight sector knows in detail what kind of future trading relationship with the EU they should be preparing for