The UK Trade and Business Commission, a group whose members include MPs from all major political parties, representing all areas of the UK, has asked the fishing industry for views on how to improve market and trading conditions in the sector, such as improvements to the issues with visas for foreign crew, or amendments to fisheries export paperwork.

Announcing the public consultation, the commission said: “Having found that post-Brexit trade agreements have not delivered significant benefits for UK businesses, improvements to living standards or opportunities for the UK public, the UK Trade and Business Commission is developing a blueprint for how the UK should be negotiating trade deals to boost economic growth and deliver a better future for the UK.

“We would like to hear from anyone, but particularly from individuals, businesses (of any size), traders, trade associations and organisations with direct experience or expertise in the fishing and logistics sectors, to understand the main challenges facing businesses, organisations and economic sectors to establish which policies and trading arrangements will help overcome the economic and trading barriers facing the UK today.”

The consultation, coming on the third anniversary of the UK’s departure from the EU, will scrutinise not only the impacts of the TCA and other Brexit legislation, but trade deals made with non-EU trading partners since Brexit.

The campaign group Best for Britain urged businesses to participate in the consultation, saying: “With the economy rocked by pandemic, supply chain disruption and an energy crisis, businesses are struggling to overcome added challenges created by the post-Brexit trading arrangement.

“The consultation will seek to address these issues and put the challenges facing the fishing sector at the heart of a new trading framework for the decade ahead.”

The results of the consultation will be put to ministers, say the MPs involved, and the UK government will be pressed ‘to both adopt the proposals and commit to action to help the fishing sector’.

The UK Trade and Business Commission claimed recently that it had provided significant support to the agriculture sector, being instrumental in supporting the rapid issuing of 10,000 agriculture worker visas since working on the issue in 2021.

Peter Norris, chair of the Virgin Group, which includes Virgin Airlines and Virgin Hotels, who is co-convenor of the commission along with Labour MP Hilary Benn, said: “The commission has a track record of taking evidence on the acute challenges facing businesses and pressing those in power into taking action. This consultation offers businesses a valuable opportunity to make themselves heard and reshape the UK’s trading framework for the decade ahead.”

Businesses, from sole traders through to larger companies, can make their views and suggestions known at: consultation

The consultation runs until 17 March.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


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