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September 2017

e-news 27 September – Prime Minister calls for a transition period and latest talks get underway

As the latest round of negotiations for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU took place this week, FTA welcomed the call from the Prime Minister for a transition period to be a key priority. FTA has been lobbying for such a period since Article 50 was triggered to enable the preparation of the necessary systems and processes to ensure that post-Brexit trade can run smoothly. This latest statement appears to constitute recognition by the Government of the scale and complexities of the task ahead to ensure frictionless trade across borders with the European Union, in terms of mainland Europe and Ireland. FTA is now emphasising that the intentions outlined in the speech need to be followed by concrete actions. We have also sought clarity from the Government’s negotiators on the situation regarding trading arrangements with Ireland, which were missing from the Prime Minister’s speech on Friday.

Press release 7 September – Christmas under threat from Home Office proposals to reduce EU workers in logistics sector

Proposals set out in a leaked Home Office document this week would end the free movement of labour immediately after Brexit and prevent all but the most highly-skilled EU workers from entering Britain. Read the press release.

August 2017

Press release 15 August – Imperative that logistics must be at the Brexit table

The Government’s paper on trade and customs arrangements post-Brexit, published today (15 August 2017) is a “step in the right direction”, according to the Freight Transport Association, the UK’s largest membership association for the logistics sector.  But FTA has warned that the ambitions laid out in the document are far from guaranteed, and will require some careful negotiation in order to ensure that British businesses are able to trade freely and easily post-Brexit. Read the press release.

e-news 16 August – Trade and customs arrangements after the UK leaves the EU

The Government has published a paper outlining plans to ask the EU to establish a “temporary customs union” after the UK leaves in March 2019; a period during which it would also expect to be able to negotiate its own international trade deals, something which cannot be done as an EU Customs Union member. Once this time expires, the Government will hope to establish either a “highly streamlined” border with the EU or a new “partnership” with no customs border at all. FTA has warned that the ambitions laid out in the document are far from guaranteed, and will require careful negotiation to ensure that British businesses are able to trade freely and easily post Brexit. We have underlined that we are keen to play our part in helping to develop efficient customs procedures post Brexit, which will keep trade flowing freely, and have urged Government to include representatives of logistics, with specialist knowledge, at the negotiating table to help reach the best possible deal for Britain.

Press Release 7 August – Welsh ports key to Brexit success

Welsh ports are key to the future success of Britain’s trading relationships post-Brexit, says the Freight Transport Association, which represents the UK’s freight and logistics industry.  Following today’s (4 August 2017) publication of the results of the National Assembly for Wales’ inquiry into the implication of Brexit for Welsh Ports, FTA has called for the Assembly to keep the pressure on the national government to ensure that trading relationships and customs arrangements at Welsh ports are at the heart of the ongoing Brexit negotiations. Read the press release.

July 2017

e-news 26 July – Fox's call for a deal is welcome Brexit news

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox’s acknowledgement that the country “does not want a no deal” situation from the Brexit negotiations has been applauded by FTA. Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme on 20 July, Mr Fox was positive in his assertion that the country needs a “full and comprehensive deal” because it would be good for Britain and for “the workers of Europe and their economy”. However, FTA has urged caution over his position that a free-trade agreement with the EU “should be one of the easiest in human history” to achieve as the UK currently has “zero tariffs and maximum regulatory equivalence”, since this would assume that the EU negotiation team would not consider introducing new legislation on the departure of the UK. FTA has also welcomed Mr Fox for his commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and free trade in his speech to the Graduate Institute in Geneva last week.

Press release 21 July – Logistics industry must be involved in Brexit trade deal negotiations

FTA has said it is crucial that Britain walks away from EU Brexit negotiations with a trade deal - and the logistics industry must play a part in negotiating the agreement. Read the press release.

e-news 19 July – Great Repeal Bill published

Members will be aware from the news that the Government has published the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, otherwise known as the Great Repeal Bill. This is the legislation that will allow for the UK’s exit from the EU on 29 March 2019. On that day, the 1972 European Communities Act will be repealed, ending the supremacy of European legislation in the UK and the authority of the European Court of Justice.

The new Act of Parliament, when it comes into law, will essentially take a snap-shot of all legislation currently in force, or already published but not yet in force, and transpose it into domestic UK legislation in one go. It is not envisaged that any legislation will be changed at this point which means that businesses and individuals are given legal certainty that the rules in place will be the same the day after Brexit as the day before.

Detailed Parliamentary discussions are expected to take place in the Autumn but FTA is already taking a central role in advising civil servants inside the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) and has begun to contact MPs to arrange meetings to brief them on key policy points.

e-news 19 July – Second round of talks gets underway

As the latest round of Brexit talks began this week, FTA said that the negotiations needed to move ahead quickly to compensate for the delay caused by the General Election. There have been reports that the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, will stray from the official agenda this week to discuss import quotas. FTA has said that negotiators on both sides must rapidly find a common view on topics in the first phase of negotiations to speedily move on to issues such as trade, transport, customs, and transitional arrangements. Other key issues to be discussed are citizens’ rights – bearing in mind 13 per cent of drivers and 26 per cent of warehouse operatives are EU nationals – and the Irish border.

FTA is regularly consulting its members on Brexit and has created a manifesto outlining its key concerns, which can be read here.

June 2017

Press release 12 June – FTA urges customs rethink at the Welsh Assembly

FTA has called on the Welsh Assembly to pressure the new national government to review its decision to leave the EU Customs Union.  This call comes following the confusion caused by the results of the General Election, a lack of a clear mandate from British voters and the diminished chances of securing a frictionless trade deal with the EU. Read the press release

Press release 9 June – FTA urges customs rethink following General Election

FTA has called for the new Government to review its decision to leave the EU Customs Union, given the confusion caused by the results of the General Election and lack of a clear mandate from British voters. Read the press release.

March 2017

Press Release 31 March – FTA urges PM to prioritise logistics in Brexit negotiations

Following the triggering of Article 50, FTA has told the Prime Minister that leaving the EU without agreeing a new trade deal would be the worst-case scenario for the country and the logistics industry in particular. Read the press release.

e-news 15 March – Minister says logistics is crucial to the UK's future success

Rt Hon David Jones MP, Minister for Exiting the European Union, spoke exclusively to delegates at FTA’s conference, Keep Britain Trading, on 15 March in London. He told global importers and exporters, as well as representatives of worldwide shippers’ councils, representatives of the Commonwealth Secretariat and UK business leaders that establishing strong global trading relationships, and maintaining the UK’s ability to deliver goods on time to customers all over the world, are cornerstones of the Government’s vision for a stronger, more successful nation post Brexit.

During his speech, the Minister also outlined his wish to establish a new, mutually beneficial customs agreement with the EU, to support frictionless cross-border trade, and called on negotiators to ensure that the border between the UK and Ireland remains deeply integrated, to ensure the free flow of goods, utilities, services and people. In closing, the Minister was upbeat about the future negotiations: “We have a huge opportunity for Britain to carve out a new role in the world, and to be a stronger and more ambitious country – a country that is better able to shape its own future in the world. As the Prime Minister has said, we want to build a truly global Britain that is one of the firmest advocates for free trade anywhere in the world.”

February 2017

e-news 1 February – House of Commons Brexit committee briefed on pive-point trade plan

FTA gave evidence to a session of the Home Affairs Select Committee on the implications for the transport and logistics industry of the UK's exit from the EU; James Hookham stressed the importance of keeping Britain trading throughout the process and ensuring as few delays as possible. he underlined that these were the key issues if the Prime Minister's hopes for "frictionless trade" between the UK and EU were, or appeared unlikely to be, realised.

  • Customs systems must be scaled-up to cope with the additional 300 million declarations by 2019
  • Shippers and forwarders with no experience of EU customs declarations for the past 24 years must be allowed time to familiarise themselves with the process
  • Other EU countries must put in place reciprocal arrangements to prevent delays at all borders, not just those into and out of the UK
  • Advanced digital customs declarations must be enabled to prevent physical checks at borders
  • The process must be phased in with no 'cliff edge; transport operators' systems are already stretched and will not cope

January 2017

Press Release 25 January – FTA’s five-point plan to Keep Britain Trading

FTA has drawn up five priorities for customs and border arrangements to keep Britain trading post Brexit. Deputy Chief Executive James Hookham outlined the issues to the Home Affairs Committee in Parliament. Read the press release.

e-news 25 January - Government industrial policy must include better logistics connections

The Prime Minister has announced that Government will be “stepping up to a new, active role” in industrial policy with the launch of a consultation on its strategy. FTA has reiterated that any successful future for UK industry in a post-Brexit world must involve improving logistics connections in the UK. This means: improving our transport infrastructure to reduce congestion and unreliability; increased access to rail and water freight; helping to reverse the skills shortages within the logistics sector; and, ensuring the UK can trade with Europe and the rest of the world without delays or financial burdens.

Press release 23 January - FTA calls on Government to deliver on industrial policy plans

FTA says the announcement by Prime Minister Theresa May that the Government will be “stepping up to a new, active role” in industrial policy is good news, providing that its objectives can be fulfilled. Read the press release.

Press Release 17 January – FTA supports PM’s Brexit vision of “tariff-free and frictionless trade”

FTA supports the Prime Minister’s vision of Britain’s likely future relationship with our European and global trading partners. Read the press release.

Blog 16 January – A-Z of Brexit update from Deputy Chief Executive, James Hookham

C is for Customs - the latest instalment in our A-Z Guide to Brexit

November 2016

e-news 16 November 2016 – Chancellor urged to keep Britain competitive in Autumn Statement

In our submission to the Chancellor of the Exchequer ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement (23 November), FTA called for Britain’s ability to move goods around the world without additional cost or red tape to be a priority. We said that Brexit negotiations must ensure that UK goods are no more expensive to export and are not burdened with more red tape. The logistics sector must also be able to access employees from outside the UK, particularly in light of the industry’s staff shortages. Read FTA’s pre-Autumn Statement submission here. FTA will send members a full update on developments following Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Statement next Wednesday. 

e-news 16 November 2016 - New FTA Customs Working Group call for members

With customs high on the agenda following the EU Referendum, FTA is launching a new Customs Working Group. The new group, which is open to all FTA members, will initially concentrate on issues arising from Brexit. FTA is working closely with HM Revenue and Customs on its approach to Brexit and needs member input to ensure it is raising the key issues with Government and its departments. Please contact Alex Veitch for more information and to join the group.

October 2016

e-news 19 October 2016 – FTA warns of the consequences if Heathrow not expanded

FTA warns that failure to keep Britain connected with its world markets through a global hub airport will see freight imports and exports passing through the Channel ports to be flown via European airports in future. With a decision on airport expansion in the south east now expected next week, FTA has reiterated its backing for a third runway at Heathrow; our ‘Sky-high value – The importance of air freight to the UK economy’ report says the airport has the best connectivity to global markets of any in the UK, currently serving 185 destinations in 84 countries. As Britain builds up these markets in a post-Brexit world, access to flights that serve these destinations direct from a home airport will be even more critical for exporters and importers looking to keep their goods competitive and consumer prices down.

The latest in a series of weekly FTA blogs on the implications of Brexit has now been published, read it here.

e-news 12 October 2016 – Brexit update

David Wells, FTA’s Chief Executive, met Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling on Monday 10 October to outline the Association’s priorities to ensure Britain’s businesses stay competitive post-Brexit. He highlighted that EU workers are vital to the logistics industry, not only as drivers but also forklift operators and warehouse staff (EU nationals make up 11 per cent of the total workforce in the sector). It was also emphasised that any new trade arrangements should not add red tape or make British goods more expensive and underlined that cross-Channel and cross-border security could be most effectively maintained by retaining borders checks in Calais. The Transport Secretary took FTA members’ concerns on board and said he would press for tariff-free trade and endeavour to make the movement of goods as easy as possible

In his latest Blog, Deputy Chief Executive James Hookham outlines the key issues surrounding access to the single market, read more here.

e-news 12 October 2016 – House of Lords Brexit inquiry

FTA has submitted evidence on logistics and future trade between the UK and the EU following a request from the House of Lords Internal Market Sub-Committee. The evidence may be read on our website here (member password required).

Press release 10 October 2016 – EU staff are vital to logistics sector, FTA tells Transport Secretary

Read the press release

Press release 7 October 2016 – Heathrow expansion must be part of PM's post-Brexit vision

Read the press release

August 2016

e-news 3 August 2016 – FTA backs Home Affairs Committee report

FTA is backing a House of Commons Home Affairs Committee report calling on the Government to maintain juxtaposed border controls at Calais to protect the UK against terrorism and criminal gangs. The Migration Crisis report, the result of a year-long enquiry by the committee, covers humanitarian and security issues including the Jungle Camp in Calais and the ‘Le Touquet Agreement’, which allows UK border controls to operate on French soil. The report says maintaining the agreement “must be a priority for the UK Government” because post-Brexit calls for it to end would be counter-productive and not in the interest of France or the UK.

FTA agrees that the checks are vital to help guarantee the security of UK-bound drivers and vehicles who simply wish to perform their job and continue to deliver the UK economy. We have said that changing the current arrangement would cause major congestion in Dover port and lead to Operation Stack being recreated at sea with ferries instead of hgvs. The UK and French governments have developed strong links and FTA is urging them to continue working together unchanged. We have participated in workshops in Brussels to assist the European Commission in its work to produce guidance for commercial drivers to help prevent people smuggling. It is hoped that this will come to fruition next year.

Press release 3 August 2016 – FTA backs Home Affairs Committee report after night of violence in Calais

Read the press release here.

July 2016

Press release 28 July 2016 – Calls to quit the EU Customs Union 'premature', says FTA

Read the press release here.

e-news 20 July 2016 – FTA chief calls on PM to prioritise logistics in Brexit

FTA Chief Executive David Wells has called on the new Prime Minister to prioritise the logistics industry in Brexit negotiations to ensure goods can move freely between the UK and the rest of the world. In a letter to Theresa May, Mr Wells said the UK economy relies on the ability to import and export goods and it is “essential therefore that the UK Government secures arrangements which protect our ability to deliver this”. Mr Wells asked to meet the Prime Minister “at an early opportunity” to discuss how FTA can work with and support the Government in delivering the best result for UK business. He also sent her a copy of FTA’s 2016 Logistics Report an annual document which provides an overview of the challenges facing the sector.

Press release 18 July 2016 – FTA chief calls on PM to prioritise logistics in Brexit

Read the press release here.

e-news 13 July 2016 – Single Market access and hiring non-UK drivers on FTA international members’ Brexit list

According to a new FTA survey, the Brexit priorities for our international haulage members include tariff-free access to the single market and the ability to hire non-UK drivers. International haulage members were polled on a number of issues and many of those who responded agreed it was too early to make a precise judgement until the new deal has been agreed. The top three priorities were: continued full access to the single market; tariff-free access for goods; and, preservation of access to the single market for services. Members said they were also keen to retain the ability to hire non-UK drivers, who would have the right to work in both the UK and in the single market. While 64 per cent view the short-term prospects for their businesses with pessimism, only 50 per cent said that they thought Britain’s exit from the European Union would make things worse in the long term.

As reported in e-news last week, FTA has identified the top 10 issues for the logistics industry as the country prepares to leave the European Union. These are the ones that FTA will be closely monitoring and influencing over the coming months to protect the interests of its members. FTA’s ABC Guide to Brexit can be seen here.

Press release 11 July 2016 – Single market access and hiring non-UK drivers top FTA members’ Brexit list

Read the press release here.

e-news 06 July 2016 – Brexit the top 10 issues for logistics

Following the EU Referendum result, FTA has identified the top 10 ‘crunch’ issues for British logistics as the country prepares to leave the European Single Market. These will be the topics that FTA will be monitoring closely and influencing over the coming months to protect the interests of its members and keep British logistics and supply chains safe, efficient and sustainable. Read the top 10 here.

Turning to cross-Channel security arrangements, during talks at the Somme commemoration last week (1 July), Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Hollande agreed a “mutual commitment to continue working closely together to protect our shared border in Calais and to maintain the so-called ‘juxtaposed controls’.”

Press release 01 July 2016 – FTA’s ABC Guide to Brexit

Read the press release here.


e-news 29.06.16 – Implications of Brexit vote for businesses

Following last week's Brexit vote it is important to note that nothing will change immediately. All rules and regulations that members have been complying with until now, both nationally and internationally, are still in place and will be until the UK's departure has been secured. The process for leaving itself will take at least two years (from the date that Article 50 is invoked) and during that time the UK Government will negotiate future arrangements.

FTA has issued press statements to reiterate that coming out of the European Union risks new costs, restrictions and bureaucratic requirements being imposed on moving goods in and out of Europe. We have emphasised that this includes transport operations crossing the UK's only land border with the EU – into and from the Republic of Ireland.

e-news 29.06.16 – Channel Tunnel border controls and checks

There has been a suggestion that there may be changes to entry controls in Calais as a consequence of the Referendum outcome and, if this were to be the case, it would clearly have serious consequences for members. The current arrangements are agreed via a bilateral agreement between the French and UK Governments and are not part of our membership of the EU. We are not aware of any formal call from the French Government for this to happen (as yet) but if and when this becomes a serious proposition, FTA will be ready to engage with both Governments to secure the best result for members.

More immediately, FTA is aware of concerns over policing levels and checks currently taking place in Calais. FTA's Brussels office has investigated these reports and has been told that the redeployment of police officers is due to the need to control hooliganism and respond to the heightened terror threat during the Euro 2016 football championship, rather than as a result of the Brexit vote. We anticipate that policing levels will return to normal when the competition is over.

Press release 24.06.16 – Maintaining cross-border trade is vital following Brexit vote

Read the press release here.

Press release 24.06.16 – FTA says exit negotiations must ensure the goods keep moving

Read the press release here.