New adviser trade body Pimfa has expressed concerns that a 21 month transition deal to leave the EU may not be long enough to reach a final deal firms can use to plan ahead.
The Government announced yesterday that it had agreed a “large part” of the deal for the UK to withdraw from the EU.
While Northern Irish borders are yet to be fully resolved, the UK has agreed to a transition period lasting from 29 March 2019 to 31 December 2020, in which it will be able to strike its own trade deals, EU citizens arriving into the country will retain their rights, and the UK will stay party to existing EU trade deals.
Pimfa, which has campaigned for an extended transition period to avoid a sharp Brexit and disruption for businesses, says that while it welcomes a provisional deal being reached, timeframes may not be enough for businesses to prepare for Brexit.
Pimfa deputy chief executive John Barrass says: “We note the short duration of the proposed transition period…This may allow insufficient time to negotiate the final UK/EU comprehensive agreement which will govern our future relationship after transition. Pimfa has made clear its preference for a flexible transition end determined by the completion and coming into force of the comprehensive agreement, so that firms know ahead of time what they will need to change towards and can plan appropriately.”
The provisional transition deal could be signed off this Friday during a European Council meeting.