The UK Government’s temporary tariffs on imports, which would come into force in the event of a no deal Brexit, could see Welsh ports lose out, Economy Minister Ken Skates has said.
The UK Government has unveiled an interim approach to avoid new checks and controls on goods at the Northern Ireland land border if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
In such a scenario, the UK’s temporary import tariffs will not apply to goods crossing from Ireland into Northern Ireland. It is also unlikely there will be routine checks on goods travelling between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, potentially creating an incentive for hauliers to route traffic through Northern Ireland, rather than taking the direct sea routes from Ireland to Wales.
Ken Skates said:
“There are no winners in a no deal Brexit. There are no good options for a no deal tariff policy , which will see tariffs applied to EU imports.
“The UK Government’s announcement earlier this week clearly shows this. If goods are able to travel between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland without a tariff this could have an impact on ports such as Holyhead which have a direct link with Ireland and where tariffs would apply under these plans.
“This clearly shows the madness of a no deal Brexit and the impacts it can have. As the clock ticks towards EU exit day, it is time to rule out this option once and for all.
“The best way to protect our economy and jobs is to commit to a closer long-term economic relationship, as set out in our White Paper Securing Wales’ Future.
“It’s time to remove the threat of a no deal and the huge damage it will cause to Wales and the UK. We must work on a closer longer-term relationship with the EU that will protect jobs and livelihoods.”
MPs earlier this week voted in the House of Commons against a no deal Brexit but it remains the default option in law if the UK fails to secure a withdrawal deal with the EU.