Britannia waives the rules

Britannia waives the rules

BLOG · BY TTF CEO, DAVID HOPKINS · 10 September

It was with some dismay with which ourselves and many others will have opened Monday’s newspapers to see the UK Government is set to back out of their own withdrawal agreement, negotiated and voted upon last year, in a new bill set to be published today.

After four years, multiple negotiations and false starts, we should be focused on simply getting the deal done that was agreed and “oven ready” last year, not continually trying to duck, dive and dodge our commitments.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted during Parliamentary Questions yesterday that the bill will break international law, in what he described as a “specific and limited way”.

This comes after Boris Johnson said that if a deal had not been done by the time the European Council meets on 15 October, the two sides will have little choice but to “move on” and accept the UK’s exit without one.

Commentators can make their own minds up as to whether the Government is bluffing or not. If a trade deal is NOT important with the EU, our biggest trading partner, one could ask why the Government places so much importance on a trade deal with the USA? Or why they have gone through the process of hiring the ex PM of Australia, Tony Abbott, to help conduct trade deals elsewhere?

However, it is unlikely that we will get a coherent answer. For timber traders, getting up to date with the information on our Brexit page remains, as advised in Nick’s blog on Friday, of utmost importance.

We also advise all members again to make sure they write to their local MPs by adapting the templated letter we have provided, to ensure our industry is able to effectively have our voice heard and interests broadly registered in Parliament.

We would also advise that members use the new Due Diligence toolkit and other guidance from our Brexit pages to help inform your European suppliers a) of the changes about to take place from January 1st, and b) that, despite the best efforts of our Government, we are still open for business and will be able to conduct our affairs in a legal, even-handed manner.

Through our relationship with European associations via CEI Bois, TTF will do its best to keep EU suppliers happy. If you need any help explaining the situation to your own suppliers please contact Xiao, Nick or myself and we’ll help where we can.

On a brighter note, it has been excellent to be meeting with so many members this week (virtually), in our various committee meetings. Many thanks to all for their excellent input so far – outputs and notes will be circulated to all during next week.

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