Business groups have responded positively to the announcement of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the UK and the EU, while cautioning that much work still needs to be done to ensure a favourable outcome for UK trade.
Business group Logistics UK says that there is still much to be done to protect the nation’s supply chains, and the economy as a whole. “A deal is great news for the UK economy,” says Elizabeth de Jong, the group’s policy director, “since it removes the risk of tariffs being placed on almost every item imported from the EU, which would have raised prices and slowed the rate of economic growth.
"We are still absorbing all the details, but it looks as though HGVs will continue to have access to the EU market, and aircraft will still be permitted to fly to and from the EU, which safeguards the UK’s highly interconnected supply chains and protects the jobs of those charged with keeping the country stocked with the goods it needs.
“Meanwhile, Logistics UK is urging traders to continue to get ready for new trading conditions as they were before, as the new trading relationship will still require many of the same preparations, not least the introduction of customs declarations and additional checks on food and livestock. Logistics UK is advising traders not leave paperwork to the last minute, or ignore it, as this will cause delays to journeys.”
British Retail Consortium (BRC) chief executive Helen Dickinson comments: “After years of campaigning for zero-tariff trade, we welcome the announcement of a free-trade agreement between the UK and EU. This protects consumers on both sides of the Channel from billions in import tariffs on everyday goods. Given that four-fifths of UK food imports come from the EU, [this] announcement should afford households around the UK a collective sigh of relief.
“The UK and EU governments have taken a crucially important step in agreeing a zero-tariff agreement, to the benefit of customers all over Europe. They must now work to implement this new arrangement as soon as possible, ensuring there are no tariffs from Day 1, and finding new ways to reduce the checks and red tape that we’ll see from the 1st January. The BRC and the rest of the retail industry will be scrutinising the terms of this deal in the coming days.”