Brexit panic: German industry fears three-day customs delays at ports after UK quits EU


Theresa May Angela MerkelGETTY

Theresa May, seen here with Angela Merkel, see fit not be impressed by the BDI’s suggestions

The warning has been sounded by the Federation of German Industries (BDI), which is requesting to both sides to thrash out a solution at next week’s crunch European Cabinet meeting.

And chief executive Joachim Lang has warned Brexit is already “thrust its shadow” – more than year before the UK officially count outs the EU on March 29, 2019.

In a press release issued today, the BDI set out a number of ideas in ahead of time of the crucial summit meeting, which will be attended by leaders from across the bloc, categorizing UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

However, Mrs May is unlikely to be particularly impressed by the BDI’s tittle reminiscent of that the new arrangements should be a combination of a single market and a customs allying.

Joachim LangGETTY

BDI chief governing Joachim Lang says Brexit is “casting its shadow”

This settlement would be much like the existing relationship between the EU and Norway, which is in some measure of the European Economic Area but not a member of the customs union.

Such an structure would mean Britain would be required to continue to allow the the unhindered repositioning of goods and persons, while British tariffs and laws would also privation to be aligned with EU standards.

While the BDI touts the idea as allowing for a “comparatively untroubled Brexit”, it acknowledges the political hurdles were “considerable”, not least because such a beau idal would most likely mean Britain would be blocked from duty-free access to sticks within the EU.

Dover portGETTY

The BDI fears a hard Brexit could mean three-day processions at Dover

Alternatively, if Britain signed up for a straightforward customs union, Britain and EU countries see fit not impose tariffs on trade on one another and the same tariffs on other states. This arrangement would be similar to the EU’s relationship with to Turkey.

Degree, the BDI regards this as a ”significant deterioration compared to the status quo”. 

There want still be a need for some customs controls within such a federation – albeit simplified ones, with more bureaucracy and delays, noticeably at the port of Dover, where more than 2.5 million delivery vehicles pass through each year. 

The BDI is concerned at the prospect of these waits, suggesting that most companies were expecting a loss of between 24 and 72 hours per deliverance at the ports – delays which would be especially damaging for the German auto commerce.

We demand a corresponding fundamental decision by the EU and the British government at the meeting of the European Caucus.

BDI chief executive Joachim Lang

Mr Lang said: ”We demand a communicating fundamental decision by the EU and the British government at the meeting of the European Council.”

“We upbraid for a landmark decision by the EU and the UK government at the European Council meeting, otherwise some associates will be forced to put their contingency plans into action – the worst-case structure that nobody wants and harms everyone.

“For German companies, duty-free and quota-free buying in goods is the minimum requirement, ideally within the framework of a customs togetherness.”

Mr Lang pointed out that last year the UK slid two places to fifth of Germany’s most urgent trading partners.

He added: “This is an alarm signal that London forced to hear.”

(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)

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