A coalition of trade bodies has issued a statement highlighting its objectives and priorities for a post-Brexit UK trade policy.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC), the National Farmers' Union of England and Wales (NFU) and the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) have issued the statement to the secretaries of state and ministers at numerous government departments, including the Department for Exiting the European Union and the Department for International Trade.
The statement calls on the government to "ensure stability and continuity for agri-food and drink businesses" and asks the government to:
• Agree transitional arrangements that maintain frictionless trade in goods between the UK and the EU
• Secure a bilateral free trade agreement with the EU that delivers two-way, tariff-free trade in the medium term
• Establish the UK as an independent member of the World Trade Organization, and adopt the EU's current schedule of Most Favoured Nation bound tariff rates
• Secure the benefits for UK traders of existing EU preferential trade arrangements, including the UK's fair share of tariff rate quotas for agricultural imports, as well as of any preferential access for UK food and drink exports, at least until government can replace them with acceptable alternative arrangements
• Engage in formal trade negotiations with third countries when the terms of the UK's future trading relations with the EU and other existing preferential trading partners are clear
• Establish cooperation with third countries on regulatory equivalence and ensuring all new trade agreements take into consideration differences in regulations and standards when market access is negotiated
• Consult with stakeholders and undertake detailed economic impact assessments when trade negotiations are opened and before any offers are exchanged
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