A year until Brexit: Trade needs clarity, says FTA

With a year until the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is urging the country’s government to expedite negotiations of trading arrangements, or risk damaging supply chains.
The trade organisation argues that UK-based importers, exporters and logistics firms need to know how Brexit will affect their businesses.
FTA head of European policy Pauline Bastidon said: "It is unrealistic to expect logistics companies and supply chain managers to wait until the eleventh hour to learn what their new operational arrangements will be and change everything at the last minute.
"There are too many open questions, when so much is at stake, and if industry is to keep Britain trading, clarity on key areas is needed in the next three months, not 12."
"Arrangements for customs, transport or standards are still unclear, and no solutions to manage borders   so that disruptions may be avoided have been agreed yet.  Logistics companies and supply chain managers also need urgent clarity on what the UK’s future immigration policy will look like."
The FTA recently welcomed the agreement of a 21 month transitional period to help smooth the UK’s exit from the European Union.
However, it added that the transitional period does not mean negotiators can become complacent.
"Industry can adapt to many changes and new realities and logistics is, by nature, agile and resilient, but it takes time to change processes and procedures, and this requires full clarity, as no company can adapt in an adequate way to the unknown," added Bastidon.
FTA is also concerned about the knock-on effect of any new arrangements on smaller organisations which may be part of bigger supply chains, but which often have no direct experience of international trade beyond the EU and the European Free-Trade Association, and for which dedicated support may be required to explain and assist with the new trading situation.
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