Britain’s Freight Transport Association (FTA) says the tariff policy released by London in case the UK leaves the European Union (EU) with no deal on 29 March is “long overdue” as the House of Commons prepares to vote on the option this evening (13 March).
The FTA has been urging the British government to provide clarity to the logistics sector for several weeks, noting many products had already left their countries of origin more than two weeks ago.
“Crucial information released by government today on tariffs applying to imports into the UK on day one in the event of a no deal Brexit is, frankly, long overdue,” said FTA head of Global & European Policy, Pauline Bastidon.
“This is critical information for importers, who have been kept in the dark for too long in spite of repeated requests for transparency. The list of origin countries that will benefit from preferential access is also revealing in itself.
“With only 13 working days left until the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU, it is deeply concerning to get confirmation at this late stage only a minority of EU trade agreements will have been rolled over. This not only represents an additional cost for importers, but is bad news for exporters too as it will limit access to preferential trade deals too. MPs should bear that in mind when asked to consider a no deal exit later today.”
The FTA spokeswoman was referring to a vote in the UK’s House of Commons this evening, where MPs will debate whether or not to quit the Brussels club on 29 March with no deal, following rejection of Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal deal last night.
The lower Chamber has been riven with differences since the referendum two years ago, which mandated the UK to leave the EU, with the impasse appearing to be going right down to the wire in two weeks time.
Should Parliament opt to reject no deal tonight, it will then reconvene tomorrow to vote on whether or not to extend the Article 50 period to negotiate a withdrawal deal, although that is contingent on all remaining 27 EU States agreeing to it.