Fluid trade agreement needed to avoid disaster beyond belief

Land Transport

Source: RHA, 2020-05-13

Strong supply chains and fluid borders between the UK and Europe must be maintained to avoid economic disaster, Rod McKenzie has told the Telegraph.

Rod, the RHA’s managing director of policy and public affairs, spoke out after the UK government announced that quarantine measures wouldn’t apply to travellers coming from France to the UK, which raised questions about the future of trade agreements with Europe.

The RHA continues to urge the UK government to secure a trade deal with the EU which will ensure that borders would remain fluid and commerce will continue to flow after the end of the transition period.

Around £42.8bn of trade passed between the UK and France last year, with about 90% of that travelling via the Dover-Calais strait. Hauliers have been exempted from any travel restrictions which have resulted from the coronavirus pandemic, as they carry the vast majority of goods between the two countries. 

Rod told that Telegraph that applying restrictions to lorry drivers would be unthinkable: “The supply chain would collapse – drivers make multiple cross-Channel journeys each week or even day in some cases. No politician in his or her right mind would quarantine lorry drivers.”

He also stressed the importance of maintaining strong, fluid trade across the Channel as part of any new trade agreement. It’s vitally important that goods continue to flow in and out of the UK as quickly and efficiently as they do now.

The coronavirus pandemic has already severely affected the world economy, and there is now whispered talk of a global recession it’s more important than ever to ensure that the UK maintains its supply chains.

“If the recession is going to be shortened and lessened, supply chains will be crucial. If the link breaks because of coronavirus and Brexit, that’ll be a cocktail of disaster beyond belief,” Rod said.

The RHA is calling for an extension to the transition period to allow hauliers to prepare for new trading arrangements between the UK and the EU, and for the UK government to secure a trade to ensure fluid trade.

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