Brexit talks moving forward, despite industry opposition
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic the UK and the EU have focused their attention on mitigating the negative impacts. This led to Brexit taking a backseat, but both parties have now agreed to continue work as planned. Professional bodies like the Freight and Transport Association in the UK, have called for an extension of the transition period, but Downing Street is pressing forward.
The challenges posed by the COVID-19 virus will make the effective implementation of any new legislation impossible in the short term, says FTA, the business group representing the logistics sector. In addition the industry is asking for some other planned domestic legislation to be suspended.
These words have been echoed by the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, who in an interview with the BBC said that governments should not add to the uncertainty. Ms Georgieva continued by adding that both sides, the EU and the UK, need to find a way to protect each other's interests and those of the whole world.
In a joined statement the EU and the UK announced their plans to continue the negotiations. Because of the coronavirus talks will be moved online with three full weeks of negotiating in April, May, and June.
“All this new legislation, and new trading arrangements, need careful planning and implementation in normal circumstances. But it is clear
they would bring major change to our sector at a time when we are fully committed to overcoming the challenges which COVID-19 presents,” says Elizabeth de Jong, Policy Director at FTA.
Nick Fox, supply chain expert, believes the UK should extend the Brexit transition period as the country will need more time to recover from the coronavirus and time to implement any new regulations. Additionally, it will be hard to see when negotiations could take place and how logistics could get ready for the changes. ‘It is the wrong time to put in extra checks and it is a good idea to go for an extension for at least another year,’ Fox says.
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