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Brexit planning is up and running – but the Government needs to sustain the momentum

The Government's technical notices on Brexit provide a good foundation for planning - but more detail is needed


The UK Chamber of Shipping has broadly welcomed the Government’s publication of 25 technical notices, which advise on how potential disruption from a no-deal exit from the European Union can be minimised. 

In the UK Chamber’s view, the technical notices are a good starting point for Brexit planning. However, there is still ground to be covered and detail to be teased out. 

Most importantly, the Government needs to accelerate the pace and sustain the momentum with which it is providing guidance on Brexit. What is encouraging, however, is that the Government is to publish the complete array of technical notices by the end of September and further advice will surely follow.

The technical notices released today are thin on real detail on what will happen and how Brexit plans will be executed in the event of No Deal. 

Moreover, the UK Chamber is concerned that the Government is in danger of placing too great an onus on industry to figure out how business will be executed, particularly with respect to supply chains and cross-border trade.

The overarching technical notice details how much resource Government is committing to plan ahead for Brexit, which the UK Chamber recognises and appreciates fully. But the Government should also recognise the need to improve the way that Government agencies work together and collaborate, which would smooth out the transition process in any Brexit scenario.

Bob Sanguinetti, Chief Executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping, said:

“Fundamentally, we are against the concept of a No-Deal Brexit as it is likely to be the most disruptive outcome for trade. Businesses on both sides of the UK-EU border need a deal and agreement on terms.

“As the technical notice on Trade confirms, a No-Deal Brexit would mean reverting to World Trade Organisation rules for cross-border customs and processes. Even with this guidance, WTO rules would be disruptive for shipping industry and businesses on both sides of the UK-EU border.

“We are encouraged by the releases we have seen today – these technical notices demonstrate the scale of planning that Government is undertaking and the Chamber is pleased to see the Government give appropriate consideration to potential risks for the shipping industry.

“In particular, we look forward to receiving guidance on key issues such as port health checks and seafarer rights.

“That being said, the notices are a stark reminder that No Deal must be avoided at all costs if we are to preserve the ease of trading across the EU border. 

“In any case, we will continue to work closely with government to identify the practical measures needed to help keep trade flowing smoothly for the benefit of UK businesses and consumers alike.”

The UK Chamber will issue further analysis of the technical notices in due course.