ASM – ‘frictionless border’ is top priority post Brexit

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) and the customs clearance support organisation Agency Sector Manager (ASM) have said that a frictionless border between the UK and EU after Brexit should be high on the list of priorities in any deal agreed.

The BIFA and ASM have been dealing with UK government agencies through the Joint Customs Clearance Committee (JCCC).

ASM Chairman Peter MacSwiney told delegates at the Brexit Briefing conference that one of the most important elements of a good transition out of the EU would be to prevent delays at the borders, so “we do not get a traffic jam from Paris to Stoke-on-Trent. This means we need the goods Customs cleared before they reach the ferry or Channel Tunnel.”

In the ASM Chairman’s eyes, some government regulatory bodies are resistant to this issue, and MacSwiney said that when Prime Minister Theresa May speaks about Brexit she is very controlled until she “hits the word ‘Customs’”.

“This is quite worrying, especially as it seems the Customs agenda will have to wait until the issues of people and who owes what to who have been sorted out.”

The ASM Chairman pointed out the UK has spent the last 40 years aligning its systems with those of the rest of Europe so “it would be a shame to throw that all away – to put it mildly,” concluded MacSwiney.

While any trade deal is not for discussion in the main Brexit negotiations, customs clearance could well be brought into the mix – if it doesn’t, trade would significantly diminish after March 2019 until this is rectified.

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