The progress made this week in the European Commission’s contingency plans for a No Deal Brexit is still not enough to keep trade moving freely between EU 27 countries and the UK, according to FTA Ireland (FTAI), the business organisation representing all aspects of the sector. Renewing its calls for the UK to leave the EU with a deal in place, the European Commission’s proposal – to extend the end date of its contingency measures on road haulage and aviation to cover an October exit – is a welcome step forward, in the view of FTAI, but would only provide temporary access relief.
Aidan Flynn, General Manager of FTAI, comments:
“If ratified, the European Commission’s proposals would only provide a temporary solution to access arrangements in the extreme case of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal in place. While they are an important step forward – providing breathing space for businesses as they continue their Brexit preparations – they should not distract EU and UK negotiators from the most important task at hand: reaching a withdrawal agreement.”
Under the proposals, the UK will receive extended access to the EU transport market for an additional seven months (road until end July 2020 and aviation until 24 October 2020).
My Flynn continues:
“Our operator members will welcome this proposal; we urge the European Parliament and member states to adopt it as quickly as possible. But seven months is still a relatively short time, and unless a long-term strategy for future road and air access can be agreed, the industry may be left facing uncertain trading conditions once again. The proposal is just one piece in the contingency planning puzzle: it does not negate the importance of continued preparation to maintain integrated supply chains. FTAI is calling on the Irish government to provide more focused support for the haulage sector to aid its preparedness, such as additional funding for training; we look forward to guidance on how to access these funds.”
My Flynn continues:
“The logistics sector is charged with protecting the nation’s supply chain through Brexit – whatever form the UK’s departure takes – but it cannot do so without the right contingency measures. FTAI will continue pressing government to provide the certainties, support and provisions logistics businesses desperately need to keep the country trading.”
FTA Ireland is a not-for-profit membership trade association for the Irish freight, passenger and logistics industries. It is wholly owned and governed by its members and acts solely in advancing their best interests. FTA Ireland covers all aspects of private and public freight transport, passenger transport and the logistics supply chain, including road, rail, sea and air. FTAI represents some of the largest freight and passenger operators in Ireland, with more than 25,000 employees and 10,000 vehicles operating between them.