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FETA: customs and regulatory uncertainty top industry Brexit concerns

Organisation says building services sector must work to help steer government on future customs arrangements and alignment with EU regulation

Ensuring certainty on regulatory alignment with key EU law and standards, as well as determining future customs requirements have been identified as vital Brexit concerns for the UK building services sector.

The Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA) said that a failure to have an agreed withdrawal plan that clarifies how the UK will align with or differ from key EU standards was a tangible concern facing industry.

FETA chairman Nick Howlett said that industry needed to support politicians to formulate clear policy to determine what changes Brexit may have on customs criteria and wider trading and shipping of goods and components.

Uncertainty on how alignment with existing and incoming EU initiatives and programmes such as Ecodesign, Energy Labelling, F-Gas and EPBD were of particularly important to the cooling sector regardless of the final direction of Brexit, he added.

Mr Howlett added that FETA and its members would need to ensure it was up to date on all developments, while also trying to influence debate effectively on the needs of its members

He said, “Each case will be different, and the options could range from mirror, copy, adopt, exceed, or ignore accordingly. Again, it doesn’t matter what one’s views are on the pros and cons of how we got to where we are – we are engineering pragmatists and can leave that to the historians.”

“What is certain is that our colleagues in the Civil Service are facing the same readjustment issues as the interfaces with Brussels (built up over nearly half a century) inevitably change. In some areas this will mean new responsibilities being “re-shored” to the UK but come what may, industry has to step up and support the authorities in these very fluid times.”

Brexit extension

The comments were made during FETA’s annual lunch held in London on April 11, which took place hours before the EU formally announced it would grant the UK a flexible extension to its deadline

Under the revised Brexit terms, the UK can exit the EU any time before October 31 if a mutually agreed method for withdrawal is then approved by parliament. However, the extension will lapse by June 1 should the UK not take part in the upcoming EU elections.

Prime minister Theresa May, whose own withdrawal agreement negotiated with the EU has been rejected by the House of Commons three times, said she was committed to ending the current impasse in parliament on how to proceed with Brexit.

She added that she would hope to leave the EU as soon as possible to avoid the need to hold European Parliamentary Elections in May.

The Labour Party meanwhile has said it will be using the extension period to try and ensure a close economic partnership with the EU post-Brexit as part of any deal it may support. The party said it hoped to try and address businesses concerns about trade barriers and potential differences in key standards from Brexit.

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said, “If that is not possible, we believe all options should remain on the table, including the option of a public vote.”

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