Monday, June 12, 2017

Freight Industry Representatives Give Reactions to Political Uncertainty after UK Election

FTA and UKWA Want to be Included in Brexit Talks
Shipping News Feature
UK – With uncertainty still pervading the British political establishment after last week's election results and the continued speculation about who exactly is going to be in charge in the coming weeks, in not days, the associations that represents Britain's freight and logistics industry have issued statements on their thinking on the direction the country should take so as best to protect their members and the economy as a whole.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has called for the new government to review its decision to leave the EU Customs Union, the so-called ‘hard Brexit’, given the confusion caused by the results of the General Election and lack of a clear mandate from British voters. James Hookham, the FTA’s Deputy CEO, said:

“After four weeks of campaigning for the General Election, vital time has been lost to prepare for the crucial Brexit negotiations. It is now imperative that that the new government focuses its efforts on supporting the logistics sector to ensure that business can continue to trade efficiently with our EU customers and suppliers.

“Exiting the customs union threatens the imposition of tariffs, border checks, Customs declarations and huge amounts of bureaucracy for the significant number of UK businesses that trade in the EU, and the logistics organisations that deliver it for them. Negotiating a replacement trade deal that avoids these would require a strong and convincing mandate, which the Election has now put into doubt. The importance of frictionless arrangements for UK trade with the EU, particularly with Ireland, means that the decision to leave the customs union should be reviewed as a matter of urgency, and other ways of achieving a positive outcome for Brexit should now be considered.

The FTA points out that 44% of the UK’s exports in goods and services were transported to the EU in 2016, valued at £240 billion out of £550 billion of the country’s total exports. Hookham continued that it was imperative that the government prioritises the continued success of the nation’s trading arrangements now that the election is concluded.

“The FTA is the leading voice for logistics on Brexit and is urging Government to place the sector at the heart of the country’s asks when the talks begin in ten days time. Our members agree that the government’s aim of delivering a frictionless trade deal for British business outside of the Customs Union has now become much more difficult than before the Election. We are therefore calling for a rethink of that decision, and for other options to be considered in which Brexit can be delivered whilst reducing the impact on British exporters and importers and the international logistics businesses that deliver the UK economy. Logistics is key to the successful delivery of the nation’s ongoing economic success and must be front and centre as the talks get under way.”

The United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) also voiced its concerns about the inconclusive election result, but promised to continue to fight for the interests of its members in the coming turmoil. Peter Ward, CEO of the UKWA, said:

“With the hugely important Brexit negotiations just around the corner, UKWA very much regrets the inconclusive outcome of the general election which has failed to provide the sought-after level of stability. We will be monitoring developments over the coming hours and days, and will continue to support our members by ensuring their voice is heard. Through our various channels we will ensure the sentiments of our members are communicated to appropriate stakeholders and accurately reported by the media.

“Similar to a year ago after the referendum we appeal to the leaders in our resolute sector to provide the calm and security needed, confident that the logistics industry will adopt its steadfast and notorious business as usual approach during this critical time.”