THE BUSINESS OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE
33 Road Haulage Associations across Europe, including the RHA (UK) and Logistics UK, have written an open letter to EU Chief Negotiatior Michel Barnier, UK Chief Negotiator David Frost, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to call for an EU-UK deal to be reached.
The letter has been signed by associations representing hauliers from countries across Europe, including the UK, Bulgaria, France, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Spain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Denmark, Belgium, Estonia, the Netherlands, Italy, Finland, Ireland, Switzerland, Lithuania, Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Romania and Poland.
The letter says that a "EU-UK deal is still possible and remains indispensible". With more than 2.3 million trucks travelling "back and forth between the EU and the UK" each year, the letter describes the haulage sector as the "life blood of our interconnected economies, supporting all sectors and industries by bringing raw materials, spare parts, supermarket supplies and finished products to their users and end consumers".
The 33 associations describe ending the transition period without a deal as "not an option for our industry", writing that "It is in the interest of all parties to allow heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) tomove back and forth between the EU and the UK and transit through their respective territories in a way that is economically viable, without resorting to the reintroduction of haulage permits and quota systems that were never intended to cover volumes of trade as high as those currently taking place between the EU and the UK."
The letter suggests that the solution is in "a reciprocal solution between the EU and the UK based on mutual recognition of standards, competences and certificates to provide for adequate safeguards in terms of fair competition, environmental performance, road safety and working conditions for drivers", before indicating that "Road freight transport operators on both sides of the Channel are committed to operating to high standards in these areas."
The alternative, the letter warns, would be "a disheartening choice between a patchwork of fragmented national arrangements, and a world where the shortage of transport capacity on EU-UK routes is endorsed as official policy (quota of permits). Either option would be to everyone’s loss."
This week marks the final round of negotiations between the UK and EU on a potential arrangement going forward. If an agreement isn't found, then when the transition period expires on December 31, 2020, the UK and EU will trade on WTO rules from January 1, 2021. The letter from the 33 road haulage association follows another call for an agreement from the CBI last week, which claimed that three quarters of businesses want a deal to be agreed between the EU and UK.
To read the letter in full, click here for the the Road Haulage Association (UK) website.
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