‘Teething problems’ caused by weak trade deal begin to bite

As the Welsh Government published its analysis of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA), Counsel General and Minister for European Transition Jeremy Miles said it is irresponsible of UK Government to describe the consequences of their political choices as ‘unexpected’.

While the TCA brings much-needed clarity to our future trading relationship, we now face new barriers and complexities in our dealings with the EU and uncertainty still remains in a number of key areas.

Many of those new barriers and complexities have now been brought into sharp focus as;

  • businesses manage additional bureaucracy and non-tariff barriers,
  • ports concerned about freight volumes not recovering as hauliers choose new more direct routes to the continent and some businesses stopping selling to Europe altogether,
  • musicians and artists find themselves unable to tour in Europe, and
  • our seafood sector is brought to its knees by new red tape.

Published today, The New Relationship with the EU – What it means for Wales explains clearly what has changed since we left the transition period and how that might affect citizens in Wales. It also signposts people and businesses to  helpful advice, information and guidance, including our Preparing Wales pages.

Jeremy Miles said, “While we will continue to argue for a stronger and closer relationship with the EU in the medium to long term, the new barriers and increased friction which we face in trading with and travelling to our European neighbours can’t be dismissed as simply inadvertent ‘mistakes’ which can quickly be ironed out – they are the product of the UK Government’s political choices”.

“We should be in no doubt that the operating conditions for our businesses changed radically at the end of December – and this will continue to have a significant impact on our communities and businesses. This will hurt us all, as worse trading conditions impact on jobs and incomes, and the deal also cuts off opportunities to live and work elsewhere in Europe.

“And it is downright irresponsible for the UK Government to claim that some of the many disadvantages which have already begun to emerge, as ‘unexpected’ or ‘teething troubles’. They are in large part the predictable – and often predicted – consequences of the UK Government putting an illusory notion of sovereignty above the economic well-being of the people of Wales and the rest of the UK.  As we said throughout the negotiating period, leaving the European Union didn’t have to be this way.

“But as we face these tough times, I want to assure you that the Welsh Government will continue to support you as we grapple with these additional barriers to our prosperity. We will also continue to advocate for an outward-looking approach to the UK’s relationships with the wider world, putting the well-being of our people at its very heart.”