Keep the Irish border open to protect trade FTA tells ministers

Monday 21 May 2018

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has reiterated its call for an Irish border solution which protects frictionless trading arrangements post-Brexit, in a meeting with leading British politicians at Stormont over the weekend.  Talking to Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Business Greg Clark MP and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley MP, FTA’s Northern Ireland policy manager Seamus Leheny stressed that the association’s members need trade to continue to flow freely across the border, without delays, to ensure that business can be supported on both sides of the border.

“Logistics operators are clear that the Irish border must remain frictionless after Brexit, to ensure that trading relationships are protected and business can continue to flourish,” Mr Leheny says.  “This weekend’s meeting gave us the chance to share the concerns of the freight and logistics sector with ministers, who were open to possible solutions which would protect the integrity of Ireland’s businesses, as well as its borders.”

During this weekend’s visit, the MPs discussed their proposed “maximum facilitiation” solution to the Irish border with Mr Leheny and other business representatives and considered ways in which the constitutional and economic integrity of the UK could be upheld, while reinforcing commitments made to the people of Northern Ireland.

“The Irish border situation is complicated, with physical and political constraints that need careful consideration before a workable solution can be found,” Mr Leheny continues.  “The conversations we had this weekend were a welcome opportunity to raise the concerns of the logistics industry directly with those at the negotiating table in Brussels, particularly the need to avoid infrastructure at the border, and the fact that technology at the border on vehicles will not be a workable solution.  Clarity over the rules of origin for goods is vital, and despite the fact that compliance for the north-south trading route will be difficult to administer, I am confident that our message – that Ireland needs to remain open for business, with no delays at its borders – will be carried into the next round of talks with the EU.”

FTA is the most active membership association in the logistics sector, with more than 17,000 members moving goods and services by road, air, sea and rail.  Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.  With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK PLC.  A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.

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