British traders say Brexit talks must move faster to prevent disaster

Britain’s economy faces a “disaster,” unless Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration picks up the pace of Brexit negotiations, said Britain’s largest transport trade association, the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

“The clock is ticking and we urgently need agreement on the first phase of negotiations so we can move on to crucial issues such as trade, transport and the establishment of a transition period to allow businesses and authorities alike to adapt,” said the organization’s head of European Policy, Pauline Bastidon.

As the second round of Brexit talks get underway today, the stakes are high, and the British pound has weakened as global markets question the U.K.’s political will to go through with the European Union divorce. Working groups on citizens’ rights, financial settlement, and “other separation issues”, such as the jurisdiction of the E.U.’s top court, will continue through Thursday.

Not on the agenda yet, to the consternation of traders, are discussions of trade, transport, customs and transitional arrangements. The FTA warned that, without clarification a settlement, the industry faces a “cliff edge.”

“If time runs out and this is not discussed, there will be dramatic and potentially disastrous consequences,” explained Bastidon. “Without resolution of these issues, we could face restrictions to international freight transport, delays at the borders and disruptions to supply chains. We must urgently start discussing concrete solutions to ensure that trade movements are not impeded.”

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