“Industry will cautiously
welcome the Government’s Christmas present of a provisional trade agreement
that avoids the catastrophe of no deal; tariffs and quotas would have been a
disaster for exporters but we will need to go through this with a fine tooth
comb to understand exactly what the impact on manufacturers will be. The UK and
EU must now urgently move to ensure provisional application from 1 January to
ensure trade can continue as normal before formal ratification.
"It is important that with a
deal in place the UK can start to build for the future with our European
partners but there are many months of further hard work yet to come.
Furthermore, It is also crucial to recognise that, even with an agreement,
companies will need time to adapt to the huge and complex changes ahead.
“Even without the pandemic it
would be stretching credibility to believe the companies that export hundreds
of billions of pounds worth of goods each year could adapt to a fundamentally
different trading model in just one working week.
“It is in everyone’s interest
for the UK and EU to jointly agree that with the legal start of this deal
significant easements and an adjustment period, with review clauses if
necessary, are vital. This will ensure the
new systems and processes which will underpin this trade agreement, and the
companies that will rely on them, can acclimatise successfully.”