FTA urges PM to prioritise logistics in Brexit negotiations

Friday 31 March 2017

Following the triggering of Article 50, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) – the UK’s biggest membership body for the freight and logistics industry – has told the Prime Minister that leaving the EU without agreeing a new trade deal would be the worst-case scenario for the country and the logistics industry in particular.  He has urged her to ensure freight and logistics – an industry which contributes over £121 billion Gross Value Added to the economy every year and employs 2.54 million people in the UK – is prioritised in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

FTA Chief Executive David Wells wrote to PM Theresa May, just hours after Article 50 was invoked, to press for a deal that will achieve her vision of “frictionless trade”, while minimising disruption to supply chains.

Commenting on the potential impact of exiting the EU without a trading agreement being reached, Mr Wells said in his letter: “Be in no doubt that the disruption and dislocation of supply chains that such an abrupt change would bring would be an economic bad deal for the country, irrespective of other outcomes obtained. FTA and the logistics industry stand ready to play a constructive and productive role in the forthcoming negotiations.”

Mrs May has already indicated that the UK will leave the EU Customs Union without a deal if the Government cannot reach agreement on new trade arrangements. FTA says the re-introduction of customs controls at borders throughout Europe after a 26-year absence could create huge delays and seriously impact on the efficient movement of goods.

The Association has created a CLEAN Brexit agenda to highlight the essential elements it is lobbying to be included in the future EU deal:

Customs systems and procedures capable of handling up to 300 million additional annual transactions
Learning curve – time to adapt to new systems and acclimatise to making customs declarations for UK-EU trade
Equivalent procedures in all other European customs administrations to avoid intra-EU border delays
Avoid vehicle checks at ports and airports where there is no time and no room – advance declarations and clearance systems can eliminate the need for checks at the point of departure and prevent major traffic congestion stretching away from ports and airports
No cliff-edge in trade procedures – businesses will require transitional arrangements to ensure international trade can continue to operate 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, especially if negotiations break down at short notice and the UK exits the customs union without a deal

Mr Wells said: “A good trade deal with the EU is crucial to the future success of the UK’s economy.  But no trade deal will succeed unless those freight and logistics arrangements needed to keep business moving efficiently have been factored into the equation. Keeping Britain trading competitively in a post-Brexit world is of prime importance and we invite the Government to work with FTA and the logistics industry in its forthcoming negotiations to ensure a smooth transition to the new trading world can be achieved."
FTA Press Office
01892 552255