With only weeks remaining before Theresa May triggers Article 50 and begins the process of the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has issued its Brexit manifesto on behalf of the UK’s logistics industry.
With so much emphasis placed by the Prime Minister on successful and seamless international trade deals in the future, the manifesto outlines the 10 key asks which the FTA believes are key to ensuring the success of Mrs May’s “frictionless” trade agreements and continued prosperity for UK businesses.
Collated from responses from the FTA’s 16,000 members, which represent all sectors of the UK’s freight industry, the Brexit manifesto covers those areas which the industry believes are vital to ensure that international trade with Europe, and other regions of the world, continues to flourish and grow.
“Britain has always been a trading nation,” says James Hookham, the FTA’s deputy chief executive, “and we are firmly behind Mrs May’s vision of a global Britain post-Brexit, with strong international relationships both inside and outside the European Union. We believe that the logistics industry has a key role to play in ensuring that Britain’s new trading relationships are as efficient and effective as possible and urge Mrs May and her team to ensure that the Brexit agreement they secure will enable our members to provide the service that industry so desperately needs, without excessive border delays or bureaucratic red tape.”
Exports to the EU from the UK currently represent 48% of the nation’s output (Nov 2016) and with such a key market at stake, the FTA is calling on government to retain a barrier-free and frictionless access to the EU market post-Brexit.
“It is crucial that trade with the EU remains as seamless as possible,” continues Hookham, “both on the continent and in Ireland. Delays at borders and customs checks must be kept to a minimum to ensure that freight can flow freely between nations to the benefit of manufacturers, retailers and consumers, both in the UK and overseas.”
With the UK’s logistics sector currently turning over £1 trillion annually, and contributing more than £121bn Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy, FTA is calling on the government to ensure that the trading environment post-Brexit is as supportive as possible to the industry.
“Our members, who manage, operate and consign the majority of road, rail, sea and air freight to and from the UK, need assurances that taxation on the sector, in the form of fuel duty, will be cut by 3p per litre to encourage increased trading opportunities,” continues Hookham. “The industry employs 2.54 million people in the UK and it is crucial that our members continue to have access to the best skills, wherever they come from. And finally, we call on the government to ensure that, whenever possible, opportunities for regulatory simplification are properly assessed before implementation, and there should be a smooth transition before any changes come into force.”
A full copy of the FTA’s Brexit manifesto is now available on line at www.fta.co.uk. And issues raised in it, as well as the opinions of those looking to establish trading links with the UK post Brexit, will be debated at a unique conference, “Keep Britain Trading”, which will be hosted by the FTA on 15th March at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.
Full details of the event, which includes a keynote address by Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, The Rt Hon David Jones MP, can be found at www.fta.co.uk/events/Keep-Britain-Trading.html