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UPDATE 1-UK warns of wider disruption if businesses do not prepare for end of EU transition

Wed, 23rd Sep 2020 14:13

(Recasts with Gove statement)

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Britain faces wider disruption
at the end of its transition agreement this year with the
European Union if businesses do not take the deadline seriously
and prepare for it, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told
parliament on Wednesday.

"The consequences of a lack of business preparedness will be
not just economic opportunities missed for those companies who
don't prepare, but potentially much wider disruption," Gove
said.

Earlier, the government warned British trucks could face
delays of up to two days to enter Europe and queues of around
7,000 lorries after Britain leaves the bloc, disrupting imports
and exports of crucial goods.

Gove, the minister overseeing the Brexit talks, told the
logistics and freight industry that truck drivers would face new
customs controls and processes irrespective of whether a trade
deal can be agreed between the two sides.

He said under the government's reasonable worst-case
scenario, up to 70% of trucks travelling to the EU might not be
ready for new border controls.

"This could lead to maximum queues of around 7,000
port-bound trucks in Kent (in southeastern England) and
associated maximum delays of up to two days," he said.

Britain formally left the bloc in January but remains in a
status quo transition period that will expire at the end of this
year. The government assumes EU member states will impose
third-country controls on Britain at the end of the transition
period.

"Irrespective of the outcome of negotiations between the UK
and EU, traders will face new customs controls and processes,"
he said. "Simply put, if traders, both in the UK and EU, have
not completed the right paperwork, their goods will be stopped
when entering the EU and disruption will occur."

A government spokesman said this was not a forecast or
prediction of what will happen but rather a "stretching
scenario".
(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Michael Holden and
Stephen Addison)

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