Some helpful insights from the Freight Transport Association

The really hard tasks will begin soon. Once Article 50 is triggered, the UK government will then have to negotiate a Brexit deal that will enable our trade with both the EU and the rest of the world to continue.

As an example of how complex this might be, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has published a submission it made to Parliament, expressing a number of concerns facing the industry.  Like many organisations involved in trade with the EU, the FTA wishes to ensure that we do not face huge disruption as a result of Mrs May’s decision that we will leave the Single Market.

The piece is worth reading in full, but a few points are worth highlighting:-

  1. There will almost certainly need to be a transitional trading arrangement between the UK and the EU. Negotiating a full trade deal may be very tight, if not unachievable, within the two year timescale of Article 50.
  2. No deal will give us as unfettered access to the Single Market as EEA membership would have done. There will inevitably have to be some trade-offs.
  3. Increased Border controls will be very time-consuming. Falling back on the WTO option would be particularly bad in this respect. The port of Dover would suffer more than anywhere else as freight movements are predicted to rise to between 14,000 and 16,000 per day in the next decade.
  4. Although tariffs are falling worldwide, some sectors of the economy would suffer if tariff-free access to the EU were lost. Tariffs of 10% or more could be imposed on motor vehicles, for instance.
  5. The biggest worry is that the EU may not want to tackle trade issues until after Brexit.  Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief negotiator, made a statement suggesting that the two-year period following the formal triggering of article 50 would only be devoted to withdrawal arrangements and that issues related to the post-Brexit trade relationship with the EU would only be dealt with post-Brexit.  While this is only one person’s opinion and that other voices within the EU are keen to avoid such a disastrous scenario, it shows that the UK’s negotiators will be facing some quite difficult individuals on the other side of the table.

No, Brexit is not going to be easy. We can but hope that the Government has been preparing for these eventualities and knows what it wants before the negotiations begin.


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  1. Phil JonesReply

    Anybody who has followed the obsessive arrogant leadership of the European Union knows that negotiations will go nowhere. The UK will be walking away. The whole question is when the UK walks away, and how much nonsense it has to tolerate before doing so. In regard increased border controls (issue 3), the EU has no effective border at present and anyone who gets into the EU can easily move on to cross the UK border. It’s a sieve at present so it’s not a matter of security at the UK/France border needing massive improving once the UK leaves. It’s a non-issue. Tariffs (issue 4) also a non-issue. If the EU27 impose them, we also impose them. Tit for tat. the EU leaders will back off pronto on imposing tariffs once the large corporations pulling their puppet strings start moving their fingers. Another non-issue. And if it were an issue, every Brexit voter that I know knew there might be a bit of economic uncertainty and was more than willing to undergo it for the UK to revert back to being a country rather than EU province. And in regard issue 5, if the EU tries to delay the UK forming new trade relationships, the UK just walks away. A bit of short-term suffering to return self-government to our beloved isle. I would say to the Freight Transport Association, “all you have to fear is fear itself!”. Relax. It’ll all work out! The air gets fresher and fresher!

  2. Gordon WebsterReply

    I still suggest, that with some intelligent forethought on behalf of the British Government, Tariffs need not be a major issue. Minford, Congdon, and others have said, that the EU sells us £310 billion in goods, while we sell them £220 billion – a difference they say of £90 billion. The British Government need only set up a Tariff Fund, to compensate British Exporters to the EU. I suggested this to the Daily Express online and an economist/ businessman wrote an article saying that this was entirely feasible. Political Will to think outside the box is required.

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