Brexit challenges still loom - associations

News Story
- 19 Dec 2019 ( #954 ) - London, United Kingdom
2 min read
UKWA's Peter Ward
UKWA's Peter Ward
The UK Warehousing Association is warning that there is still plenty of work ahead to ensure a successful Brexit.

Association CEO Peter Ward notes that the Conservative Party's overwhelming victory in last week's General Election will finally break the Parliamentary gridlock that has frustrated the business community for over three years and the return of a high degree of political certainty is bound to be good for investment.

"Indeed, there are already clear signs that the economic climate has been boosted by the result, and we expect a greater degree of confidence within our membership to emerge in the new year as the uncertainty about the UK's withdrawal from Europe falls away," he says.

Ward predicts that within a few days, the UK is likely to see the timetable for the passing of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the exit from the EU will be confirmed by the end of January.

"However, as UKWA has said consistently, while securing a Withdrawal Agreement that is acceptable both to the EU and the UK Parliament is an important milestone in the Brexit process, there is plenty of hard work still to be done before we 'get Brexit done'," he warns

"The nature of Britain's future relationship with the EU has yet to be defined and the Prime Minister's pre-election pledge that the Brexit Transition Period will not be extended beyond December 2020 means that the risk of leaving the EU on WTO terms - with the interruptions to supply chains that such a scenario will bring - is still with us."

Ward stresses that UKWA remains committed to supporting the Government in shaping practical solutions to the issues that lie ahead, but no one should underestimate the scale of the task that remains before us.

In similar vein, Robert Keen, director general of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), has warned the government it must deliver on its promises in regards to Brexit, the withdrawal agreement with the EU, and any future trade deal.

Keen says for the last three years, freight forwarding and logistics companies have done all they can to prepare for Brexit in the face of huge uncertainties.

He says BIFA members need assurances that they won't face another "no deal cliff-edge next year, nor a messy and disorderly exit from the EU".

"As the people who facilitate a significant proportion of the UK's visible trade with the EU (and the rest of the world), they are looking for the government to avoid a no-deal exit from the EU and deliver a smooth transition, giving companies time to prepare.

"They are also looking for the new government to push ahead with improvements to transport infrastructure, including the thorny issue of the expansion of capacity at Heathrow," he says.

Keen also urges the new government to seek and commit to a workable adjustment period once the details are revealed about the changes members might face in regards to the movement of freight across borders.

"Now is not the time for arbitrary negotiating deadlines," he stresses.
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