Logistics industry must be involved in Brexit trade deal negotiations, says FTA

Friday 21 July 2017

The country’s biggest transport trade body says it is crucial that Britain walks away from EU Brexit negotiations with a trade deal – and the logistics industry must play a part in negotiating the agreement.

Speaking after International Trade Secretary Liam Fox’s comments yesterday, Freight Transport Association Deputy Chief Executive James Hookham said there was no room for complacency because a ‘no deal’ would have catastrophic consequences for the logistics sector.

Mr Fox said the UK-EU Free Trade Agreement would be the easiest deal in history because “our standards are (currently) the same”.  But Mr Hookham said flexibility was key and stressed that simplified, exporter-friendly trade procedures must be put in place so that opportunities to sell British goods overseas are not suffocated by the costs of red tape and bureaucracy.

“Logistics industry representatives must have a seat at the table when these deals are being negotiated because it’s the supply chain managers who will have to make them work post Brexit. The Government must accept that no deal is a bad deal for an economy dependent on European supply chains, so its negotiators must focus their minds on sealing a trade agreement at the end of two years. A cliff edge where we move from the current arrangements to nothing is unthinkable,” he said.

FTA believes UK membership of the World Trade Organization is essential, but says the UK will need to be more robust in advancing its position in a global organisation than it has been in the European one it is leaving. 

“Most trade deals fail because of unresolved procedural issues that are left for exporters and importers to sort out with Government agencies after the politicians have gone home. Exporters and forwarders need a voice at this table to ensure great trade deals are translated into cost-effective opportunities on the ground,” said Mr Hookham.

FTA has outlined its priorities for negotiations in its Brexit manifesto and is holding regular Brexit webinars to keep members updated. More information can be found in our Brexit centre
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