26 Feb 2018
Commenting on Jeremy Corbyn’s speech on the Labour Party’s position on Brexit and future UK-EU customs arrangements, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“Jeremy Corbyn’s position on the customs union, like the Government’s, feels more political than practical for business. The priority must be to delve far more into the detail and negotiate a pragmatic deal on both customs and regulatory recognition that allows businesses to get their goods across borders as quickly as possible.
“Businesses are interested in clarity and certainty, not Westminster political dividing lines. Westminster is still having an inward-facing conversation, when what businesses need is a clear understanding of how the UK’s political establishment will deliver results in a tough negotiation with Brussels.
“Trading businesses want to see a practical and pragmatic customs relationship between the UK and the European Union in future that reduces costs and delays at borders as much as possible. Most, however, stop short of recommending a particular model because all have both benefits and drawbacks, which must be more fully explored.”
On transition, Marshall said:
“Our business communities agree with Mr Corbyn that a comprehensive transition period is needed to prevent two sets of costly adjustments to new trading conditions. Given that the Government has made similar points, all parties at Westminster should be working toward a swift agreement on transition, so firms can plan ahead and adapt with confidence.”
On European agencies, he added:
“Labour are right to maintain a pragmatic position on the UK’s future cooperation with specific EU and Europe-wide agencies and programmes. Many UK businesses believe that engagement and collaboration with some EU agencies will be vital to their competitiveness in future.”
On the status of EU nationals in the UK, Marshall added:
“Businesses across the UK have been categorical in demanding assurances on the future status of their European employees, co-workers and friends. Regardless of the outcome of negotiations, the rights of EU nationals working in UK businesses must be assured – for the good of families, communities and our economy.”