Irish freight and logistics operators are calling on UK government to ensure that Brexit negotiations do not come to an abrupt stop, said the Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTAI), as this could be catastrophic for Irish business.
Speaking in response to the UK government’s release of its positioning papers on Brexit, FTAI’s Aidan Flynn said that Ireland deserves to be part of the conversations, as the UK moves towards exiting the European Union, in order to protect supply chain links and trading relationships for Irish businesses moving forwards:
“What has been published today is of course the UK government position, and is not necessarily what the end result will look like for businesses both in the UK and the Republic of Ireland,” he said. “It is imperative that, in creating the ultimate trading arrangement – which will be both complex and time critical – politicians from both sides of the Irish Sea take into account the need for continuity in trading, and allow sufficient time to enable a transition to new arrangements to take place.
“For so-called frictionless trade to work effectively, it will require all those in the supply chain in both Ireland and the UK to buy into the same technological solutions solve the new trading conditions presented by a post-Brexit world,” he continued. “This technology may not currently exist, and could take years to implement effectively, which will pose a challenge to an industry already stretched over margins and time-sensitivity: and who will fund the creation and introduction of such a solution?
“The UK government’s paper on trade and customs arrangements post-Brexit, published today (15 August 2017) is far from a ‘done deal’ as far as the EU is concerned, and we are urging those involved in the ongoing negotiations, which start again at the end of this month, to take a pragmatic approach and work towards solutions which will not negatively impact the Irish supply chain, and Irish business as a whole.”
According to today’s government paper, the UK could ask Brussels to establish a “temporary customs union” after it leaves the European Union in March 2019. But during this period it would also expect to be able to negotiate its own international trade deals, something which cannot be done as an EU Customs Union member. Once this time expires, the government will hope to establish either a “highly streamlined” border with the EU or a new “partnership” with no customs border at all.