It is imperative the arrangements involving the passage of goods are given urgent priority by the Brexit negotiation teams, the FTA has said.
The association said that negotiators should “heed the warnings from traders and logistics operators on both sides of the channel” and understand that post-Brexit arrangements will need “time and effort” to continue the smooth movement of trade.
“For trade to continue to flow freely between the EU and the UK post-Brexit, it is now imperative that the arrangements involving the passage of goods are given urgent priority by the negotiation teams,” says Pauline Bastidon, FTA’s head of European policy. “To assume that trade can continue to move by default, as it currently does across the Channel, ignores the vast amount of work still to be done to develop robust and business friendly procedures for imports and exports.
“Much work is needed to ensure that the necessary infrastructure and processes are in place, to avoid massive delays at logistics nodes, and that authorities and businesses are ready to cope with new arrangements.
“IT systems need to be adapted, and authorities need to recruit and train additional customs officials, for instance, which cannot be done in the flick of an eyelid. To ignore the situation any further puts the UK and Europe’s future trading opportunities on a knife edge – this is fact, not fiction.”
She said that just last week, the Port of Dover warned that doubling the current time taken to process customers paperwork for one lorry leaving the UK would delay the system so much that “queues of more than 17 miles of traffic will build up across the motorway networks in the UK and France within a matter of hours.”