Adam Johnson, director of Tudor International Freight
A leading Yorkshire logistics expert has said the region’s businesses trading with the EU welcome some vital provisions in the draft withdrawal agreement published last week.
Adam Johnson, director of Tudor International Freight, based in Horsforth, Leeds, said one reason for the positivity was full approval of the document, agreed between the EU and UK negotiating teams, would provide much-needed certainty about future trading arrangements after over two years of doubt.
He said ratification would also confirm goods could continue being shipped between the UK and EU without tariffs being imposed or burdensome and time-consuming border checks taking place and avoid what he called “the horrors” of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.
He explained: “The current largely economical, quick and simple shipping of goods between the UK and EU takes place mainly because we’re members of the bloc’s Customs Union. If the draft withdrawal agreement takes effect, we’ll enter a 20-month transition period after leaving on 29 March next year, during which our relationship with the EU will essentially remain unchanged.
“Moreover, the draft says if a long-term free trade agreement isn’t concluded between the UK and EU by July 2020, the parties can agree to extend this transition period indefinitely and that, in the absence of such an accord, the ‘backstop’ will take effect. This measure - designed to guarantee a continued open border in Ireland - would mean the UK and EU remaining in a single customs territory ‘unless and until…a subsequent agreement becomes applicable’.”
Mr Johnson said many more than four months were needed to address problems a no-deal departure would throw up, such as the UK currently being able to issue permits likely to be needed for entering the EU to only about five per cent of its lorries needing to go there. He added such a Brexit would also mean the agreements currently allowing planes to fly between Britain and the bloc lapsing.
He said: “Yorkshire’s businesses understand the draft withdrawal agreement still has to be fully ratified by the UK and EU, and approval by the Westminster Parliament in particular, when it debates the agreement next month, currently seems far from a formality.
“However, achieving certainty, retaining Customs Union membership and free movement of labour into the future plus avoiding the chaos a ‘no deal’ Brexit would bring to companies and their supply chains are vital priorities for the region’s EU traders.
“Whatever we think as individuals of the draft agreement’s other provisions, there’s no doubt it ticks these boxes.”
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement