The Chamber's key aims for Brexit have remained consistent through out the ongoing political fluctuations. The following traffic light scheme is designed to provide Members with an update on the Chamber's perspectives on the process and how confident we are in the Government delivering our key aims.
Preserve existing ease of doing business
The continued free flow of ro-ro freight between the UK and its neighbours is of vital economic importance to all countries concerned, which all rely on just-in-time supply chains. The best means of achieving this is through a negotiated future agreement and the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement, while not perfect is the best proposal available.
The alternative is a withdrawal from the EU without an agreed settlement. This could cause significant disruption to UK-EU trade and must be avoided at all costs.
The respective UK and EU authorities have made plans for a so called, "no deal", but such plans will never be able to ensure the legal and therefore operational certainty required for long term business planning.
The Government are working closely with UK Chamber in identifying how custom processes presently work, how they can be improved and where alignment is possible. The Chamber encourages the Government to quicken its progress and provide better guidance to what UK ro-ro operators can expect in their operational regualtions. .
Ensure access to talent
The continued free movement of workers who are nationals of EEA Member states has proven to be of benefit to UK shipping and should continue.
Arrangements for the continued mutual recognition and acceptance of seafarers' Certificates of Competency and Certificates of Proficiency issued in any EEA Member state are of utmost importance and must equally benefit UK nationals seeking employment on vessels flagged in other Member States and companies wishing to employ nationals of other Member States om ships registered in the UK. Subject to confirmation of the withdrawal agreement, the UK and EU have confirmed the continuation of mutual recognition of seafarer certificates until January 2021.
The UK Government have yet to announce a new date for a debate on the Immigration and Social Security legislation which is designed to repeal free movement of EU persons and the roll out of the new residency application has been slow. The new Immigration Bill, laid in December 2018, is designed as a single, unified immigration system to apply to everyone who wants to come to the UK after Brexit. However, uncertainty remains for existing and prospective immigrants to the UK. This uncertainty is challenging the UK maritime sectors ability to access talent and a clear response by HMG is required.
Reform domestic maritime policy
The Government has pro-actively engaged industry to seek reforms to the UK maritime regulatory framework. The Chamber is discussing with Government, various policies which the UK could amend after March 2019. These include improvements to state aid guidelines, reporting obligations and flag registration. In addition to identifying policy reform, the Chamber has improved awareness with the Government of the importance of continued UK participation in certain EU schemes such as the European Maritime Safety Agency.
The Government's Maritime 2050 strategy is another reflection of the Government seeking to stimulate the UK maritime sector through close industrial engagement. The Chamber has submitted evidence to the strategy programme and has participated in workshops to discuss the future of UK shipping.