Speaking about a future trading relationship with the EU, the Prime Minister said: We have made our choice, “we want a comprehensive free trade agreement, similar to Canada’s.”
Canada’s trading relationship with the EU is a free-trade agreement and includes some measure of alignment, although the Prime Minister seemed to suggest that the UK is not seeking “alignment of any kind.”
Commenting on this speech, Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive of the British Ports Association, said: “The clock is ticking and the freight sector needs to understand exactly what border requirements there will be from January 2021. The company has an excellent relationship with the various parts of government that are planning for Brexit, but now a clear and detailed statement on their positive vision for UK trade and industrial strategy is needed – with Europe and the world – and how that will affect industries that rely on free-flowing trade through UK ports.
The goalposts have been moved several times over the last three and a half years, and this uncertainty must now end.
It is now almost inevitable that the promise of continued ‘frictionless trade’ will not be met. UK ports have been preparing for disruption for three and a half years, and are as ready as they can be. However, the British Ports Association remain concerned at the readiness of the wider freight industry and the capacity of the multitude of government agencies that operate at the border.
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