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‘Barriers’ created by UK Government’s ‘weak’ EU trade deal ‘hurting us all’ in Wales, says minister

12 Feb 2021 3 minute read
Jeremy Miles AM. Picture: National Assembly

“Barriers” to trade created by the UK Government’s “weak” deal with the EU are “hurting us all” in Wales, according to a Welsh Government minister.

Jeremy Miles said it is irresponsible of UK Government to describe the slump in trade, which he described as the “consequences of their political choices,” as unexpected.

A new report published today, The New Relationship with the EU – What it means for Wales would explain clearly what had changed since the country left the transition period and how that might affect citizens in Wales, he said.

“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’,” Jeremy Miles said.

“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.”

‘Tough times’

He said that many of the 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
  • Wales’ seafood sector is “brought to its knees” by new red tape.
Lorries ‘stacked’ awaiting clearance to pass through border regulations. Picture by the Welsh Government

“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,” Jeremy Miles said.

“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.

“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.”

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