EU opportunities for UK post-Brexit

Mark Simmonds British Ports Association (BPA) policy manager Mark Simmonds attended the Conservative Party Conference this week
Industry Database

UK Ports Minister John Hayes has declared that there is a thirst for trade with the UK from EU nations.

The claim was made at the Conservative Party Conference this week attended by British Ports Association (BPA) policy manager Mark Simmonds, who said that whilst various Ministers echoed the Government’s line that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, the feeling behind the position seemed to be that, as John Hayes admitted: “a deal will need to be done”.

Mr Simmonds pointed out that International Trade Secretary Liam Fox expressed similar sentiment, saying “no deal” is not necessary to make a success of Brexit, but that it would be “much better to have an agreement”.

Deal needed

He stressed that the “message from industry at the conference was very clearly that a deal was essential, as was a transition period”.

Chancellor Phillip Hammond called on business to back his position on transitional arrangements not just with words, but with investment, reported Mr Simmonds.

Mr Simmonds added that talk of post-Brexit regulation and trade underlined the fact that arrangements for the relatively near future are still unclear and subject to negotiation.

No confidence in PSR

Business Minister Margot James, suggested that a trade deal with the EU might need regulatory equivalence, whereas at a separate event John Hayes described the EU Port Services Regulation as “indicative of the EU at its worst” and said: “if I were a port I wouldn’t put a lot of effort into preparing for the PSR as we intend to get rid of it”.

However, Mr Simmonds noted that the opportunities presented by technology and innovative solutions are seen as a promising way of tackling potential new trade barriers.

Ministers confirmed that there will be a Trade Bill introduced into Parliament by the end of the year.

Removing quotas

On the fringe of the conference, there was support for supporting sustainable fishing but moving from quotas to “effort control”. There was also some support for continuance of the EMFF and concern around future skills in the catching sector.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove spoke of his vision to “develop a world-leading policy on marine conservation” and “give British fishermen first call on this resource” by only letting other countries fish on “our terms”.

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