FREIGHT forwarders have urged common sense and compromise as negotiations get underway regarding the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

British International Freight Association director-general Robert Keen said both sides should do everything to achieve a free-trade agreement with zero tariffs and zero quotas.

“As a trade association that represents companies that handle the majority of the UK’s visible trade, we recognise that the UK and EU have now revealed their hands,” Mr Keen said.

“Our members understand that today is only the beginning of months of complex talks, with many challenging areas that will require flexibility from both sides if an agreement is to be reached.

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“Common sense and compromise will be needed to avoid a ‘no-deal scenario’ at the end of 2020, and every effort should now be made to ensure that trade between the UK and the EU will be done across borders that are as frictionless as possible.”

Mr Keen said BIFA sought to avoid costly red tape and complex customs arrangements.

“BIFA has always stated its belief that a no-deal scenario would be the worst outcome, as it is likely to increase trade barriers and impose significant restrictions on the exchange of goods between the EU and the UK,” he said.

Mr Keen said BIFA would continue to work with government to advise, guide and offer solutions, while encouraging members to remain focused and continue to prepare for all eventualities.

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