After Brexit, what next for customs and excise?

Andrew Baxter of logistics company Europa gave evidence at a meeting of the Home Affairs Select Committee about the impact on the logistics sector on the ‘Hard Brexit’ option, which includes leaving the Customs Union.

Baxter told the panel of MPs and other industry leaders that the government “has a huge job on its hands” in minimising the impact of reintroducing customs clearance should the ‘hard Brexit’ option be taken.

“The reintroduction of customs clearance will increase transit times on some shipments and will increase costs to importers and exporters, so I believe it is vital that the government sets up a working group straight away which will look at how to slicken the process and minimise delays at the border,” commented Baxter over hard Brexit. “This group should be made up of industry experts and customs officials and should start to tackle the issue immediately, so that we are prepared for the changes when they happen.”

Baxter added: “Some of the MPs assumed that due to the nature of my industry and my business’s close ties with European partners, I would be against leaving the EU. My stance is in fact quite the opposite! I’m an ardent supporter of the UK leaving the EU because I believe Britain should be a free, governing country with control over its own laws and potential for growth – but we need to make sensible and considered decisions now in order to best manage the changes which are inevitably involved with extricating ourselves from the EU, particularly in relation to customs clearance.”

James Hookham of the Freight Transport Association, Jack Semple of the Road Haulage Association and Graeme Charnock of Peel Ports also gave evidence to the committee.
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