European businesses call for seamless customs transaction period

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European businesses and trade bodies are calling for a seamless customs transaction period following Brexit to protect European Union (EU) and UK competitiveness.

The group is urging EU and UK negotiators to put legal certainty and predictability for business and trade at the top of their negotiating agenda, and its priority for customs is the guarantee of a seamless transition period after March 2019 replicating the current commercial, regulatory and trading environment.

They say this guarantee will enable the industry to plan and invest appropriately for what takes place in March 2019.

It calls for the transition period to last until the commencement of a long term EU-UK partnership agreement, which must promote an economic and trading relationship that maintains and improves the mutually beneficial ties between the EU and UK.

The group says though there are still significant questions for both sides to discuss and resolve at a political level, negotiators must not lose sight of the damage that will be inflicted if business and economic activities are not protected.

It says: “Big bang or ‘cliff edge’ situations must be avoided. They would send costly shock waves through EU trade flows and supply chains that have evolved and flourished over the last forty years.”

“The EU and the UK should recognise their mutual self interest in finding a way to preserve these links and the legal certainty that is vital for companies to continue serving Europe’s citizens on both sides of the Channel.”

The associations signing up are: British Chambers of Commerce EU and Belgium; Community of European Railways; European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services; European Association of Automotive Suppliers, DIGITALEUROPE; The European Community Association of Ship Brokers and Agents; The Association of European Vehicle Logistics; the European Shippers Council; EurTradeNet; Freight Transport Association; Global Shippers Forum; International Road Transport Union; Spirits Europe and World Shipping Council.