Boris Johnson urged to agree post-Brexit ‘adjustment period’ to give businesses ‘breathing space’


B

oris Johnson has been urged to negotiate an adjustment period into any final trade agreement with the EU to provide “breathing space” for businesses.

The post-Brexit trade talks have entered into a decisive week, with Cabinet ministers among those signalling the approach of last chance saloon territory.

With Thursday touted as the latest deadline for negotiations, the Liberal Democrats and a leading business figure joined forces to press the Prime Minister to effectively extend the transition period to give businesses more time to adjust.

The transition period is due to end on December 31, meaning a new customs regime and other new Brexit-related rules are due to come into force at the start of next year.

Brexit briefing: 45 days until the end of the transition period

But Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey and former Siemens boss Juergen Maier have told Mr Johnson in a letter that “breathing space” is required for businesses to adjust to any changes agreed with Brussels.

They warned that industry is already dealing with the “unprecedented” challenges caused by Covid-19 and that the threat to some firms was “existential”.

“Uncertainty is bad for business at any time, but the combination of the challenges of battling the impact of coronavirus restrictions alongside having now to cope with the huge challenge of complying with new trading procedures, at very short notice, could be very damaging,” they said.

“So we urge you to negotiate the reasonable and practical measure of a three to six-month adjustment period in the EU trade deal, to save jobs and businesses.

“By phasing in new rules, regulations and procedures, our businesses would have the breathing space they need to prepare and adapt. The UK will also have time to prepare for the logistical burden of customs checks at the border.”

The Lib Dems pointed to comments made by Environment Secretary George Eustice on Sunday in which he suggested there would be a “phasing-in period” for checks on goods entering Northern Ireland at the end of the Brexit transition period, and urged ministers to widen the policy to cover all sectors.

The call comes as the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier continue negotiations in Brussels with just over six weeks to go until the end of the transition period.

The talks, which follow a similar round in London last week, come ahead of a European Council video summit on Thursday which has been touted as a deadline for a draft deal. 



READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here