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An economist from The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) has suggested the UK could „lift the gate” to avoid lengthy queues of trucks when the country leaves the EU single market in January.

CIPS economist John Glenn made the comments during the CIPS virtual conference, held on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

Glenn is quoted as saying lorries could be waiting for „up to two days” due to the time it takes to fill in and check the customs declarations.

However, the economist added that the UK may just decide to ignore the customs procedures completely in order to wave the trucks through:

“The good news is the experts in the field – none of them will admit to saying this – think that on the import side the way they will resolve the problem is literally just lifting the gate and allowing the goods to come in whether they’ve got effective clearance or not.”

A lot of discussion in the media recently has focused on the possibility of a trade deal between the EU and the UK. Even so, many observers have pointed out that a free trade deal will not be a magic bullet that removes red tape completely. John Glenn is no different in this regard:

“Even if we have a free trade agreement with the EU, you still have to fill in customs clearance documents. There is no free trade agreement on the planet where you don’t have to fill in customs clearance documents, except perversely the European Union, which we are just leaving.”

The extreme measure touted by Glenn would undoubtedly ease queues in Kent in particular. Nevertheless, it would likely entail other significant problems in the shape of damaged international reputation, increased smuggling and lost income from tariffs.


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