But the EU must prove it can be trusted to negotiate future relationship in good faith, the Chamber adds
UK Chamber of Shipping CEO Bob Sanguinetti has told opponents of the Withdrawal Agreement to either accept that the deal struck by the Prime Minister is the best deal possible, or put forward a clear, unambiguous and workable alternative immediately.
Mr Sanguinetti said:
“International agreements rarely please everyone, and I accept this deal gives neither Leave nor Remain campaigners everything that they want, but we have now run out of time.
“This deal has been struck after years of complex, detailed and technical negotiations. We respect those who cannot support the proposed deal, but their dissent requires them to put forward a clear, unambiguous and workable alternative immediately. In short it’s time to put up or shut up.”
Mr Sanguinetti also acknowledged that many people are tired of hearing ‘No Deal’ warnings, but argued that the uncertainty of No Deal was too big a risk to take.
“I know people are tired of business groups warning of a No-Deal scenario. There is however a direct relationship between political decisions and people’s day-to-day lives and it is our duty to alert them to the facts.
“It may be the case that over the medium term markets will shift and adapt well to a No-Deal economy, but nobody truly understands the damage that will be done in the meantime.
“In a No-Deal scenario, it is a fact that there will be long delays in ports putting manufacturing supply chains and just-in-time deliveries of pharmaceuticals and fresh food at risk. It is a fact that costs would go up for consumers. It is a fact that this will damage both the UK and the EU. The question is how long it would take to sort all that out – and for that there is no clear answer.
“Those hoping for a No-Deal Brexit — or prepared to risk one — have a duty to explain in technical detail why this is a risk worth taking.”
But Mr Sanguinetti concluded that there was still work for Government and the EU to do, and that everyone should fully understand what the UK was signing up to.
“This is, ultimately, only one part of the process. The future relationship is still to be decided. If the UK Parliament does agree to this deal, it should do so with its eyes wide open – even the strongest supporters of it need to realise the ramifications are profound. If the UK were to fall on to the backstop arrangement in two years’ time then the UK would continue to have no say in its rules and regulations on a whole range of matters. We would be trusting the EU to negotiate a future relationship in good faith. The Government and the EU need to prove that such trust is warranted.”