On Tuesday, Theresa May’s much anticipated speech provided a tiny bit of clarity on the UK’s plans to leave the EU and its single market. However, it fails to provide the details on how the government is going to go about achieving these plans. At the moment May has only told us what the UK is looking to get of Brexit, this doesn’t really help businesses since we don’t yet know if the EU will allow any of these things.
As a Freight Forwarding company we were saddened to hear that the UK would be looking to leave the ‘single’ market. Leaving the ‘single’ market means importing and exporting to and from Europe will become more complicated. Custom procedures will be introduced which increases the chance of delays. Many supply chains that rely heavily on Just in time delivery will have to rethink this strategy if their stock is coming from outside the EU. However, hearing that the UK would look to pursue a Free Trade Agreement with Europe softened the blow. The EU negotiators will not give the UK better access to the single market then a member of the EU otherwise other EU countries will follow.
The road freight industry relies heavily on foreign drivers especially those from the EU. Currently in the UK most drivers are from EU countries and with the freedom of movement expected to go we may see a scary shortage of drivers which will inevitably shoot up haulage costs. In order for the shortage to be avoided May will need to consider this problem when putting together the UK’s immigration policy. Her speech did not clarify on what type of immigration policy the UK would be pursing. One proposed by the leave campaign was a ‘points’ based system.
May talked about looking past the EU single market to countries like China, America and India the big economies of the world. Setting up trade deals with these powerhouses would work wonders for our economy. However we have to be careful that the trade deal benefits both parties otherwise more damage than good can be acquired. With Britain in a vulnerable position once we leave the EU, the PM has to be careful not to jump into any agreements. Again these trade agreements are just what Britain would like to happen, when putting this into reality the trade negotiations could easily breakdown.
Brexit was not something that Espace would have liked. However, it’s too late to go back now. Although, the PM’s speech did not give much detail on how the UK’s ‘wish list’ would be achieved, May’s plans for ‘tariff free and frictionless’ trade is one welcomed in the freight industry.