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Freight association comments on National Audit Office report about current state of UK border

Responding to today’s report from the National Audit Office about the state of the UK’s post EU exit border ambitions, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) said:

In December 2020, when the government announced its intentions to develop the world’s most effective border by 2025, eyebrows were raised by many who manage the supply chains that underpin the UK’s visible international trade.

Over the intervening period, BIFA has expressed its concerns about many of the issues that are now included in the NAO Report, as our members experience and try to overcome the practical difficulties associated with many of the new procedures associated with achieving that goal.

Aspiring to create the most effective border in the world is worthy, but the NAO Report indicates that delivering it is a long way off.

Timetables for various programmes have repeatedly changed and goal posts have repeatedly moved, often to the dismay and cost of those businesses that are responsible for managing international trade crossing the UK border. A particular point that BIFA has made on behalf of its members is the lack of detailed guidance issued by some Government Departments, which has adversely affected trade flows.

As yet there are no clear policies beyond a Single Trade Window, use of which is voluntary, and currently offers nothing to any users handling more than a very small number of shipments.

The government needs to take on board the comments contained within the NAO report and provide clarity for business on all the details of how it intends to deliver the world’s most effective border. That needs to include a realistic and workable schedule, which will allow sufficient planning and implementation time to provide workable solutions to enable the existing or revised border and trading arrangements to be implemented.

In light of the comments made in the NAO’s report, it is not surprising that BIFA members are losing confidence in the government’s ability to deliver that clarity; without which the UK’s international supply chains remain at risk.

The full report can be seen here: https://www.nao.org.uk/reports/the-uk-border-implementing-an-effective-trade-border/
Source: BIFA

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