Freight forwarders’ body joins calls for softer Brexit

Freight forwarders’ body joins calls for softer Brexit

With Brexit talks due to get underway in Brussels later today, the British International Freight Association is calling for the UK negotiators to push for a deal that keeps the UK in the European customs union.

BIFA Director General, Robert Keen says: “Over the weekend, we heard the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond dismiss speculation that the UK could pursue a soft Brexit and remain part of the EU’s customs union and the single market.

“Like many, BIFA believes the economic benefits of the European Union single market, which allows free movement of goods, services, capital and people, and the customs union, which enables tariff-free trading within the EU, should be maintained until a final settlement between the UK and the EU is agreed and implemented, whenever that might be.

“In light of the confusion caused by the results of the recent General Election, and the lack of a clear mandate from the UK Electorate, Mr Hammond and others, ought to be trying to convince colleagues to review the decision to leave the EU customs union, as laid out by Theresa May in her Lancaster House speech in January.

“Efficient and effective visible international trade needs fluidity at the borders and BIFA fears that leaving the customs union will lead to the imposition of tariffs, border checks, Customs declarations and bureaucracy for the many UK businesses trading within the EU, as well as BIFA members, which provide the logistics services that underpin such trade.

“As others have said, the failure to secure a significant mandate in the General Election has left the UK Brexit team in a much-weakened negotiating position.

“BIFA, on behalf of its members, suggests the Government needs to keep an open mind on solutions needed for the post-Brexit period, rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater by having an inflexible attitude on ongoing membership of the customs union.”

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