Government plans to leave the EU customs union during a Brexit transition period will raise concerns of unnecessary disruption to trade between the UK and Europe, trade association ADS said today.

Confirmation that all sides in negotiations recognise a transition period is needed as the UK moves to a new relationship with the EU will be welcomed by industry.

However, ADS believes the Government’s proposal for a transition involving two stages – one from membership of the EU to new arrangements agreed for a transition period, and a second from the transition to a final post-Brexit deal – creates unwelcome risks to business.

The trade association for the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors wants to see a one-step transition to the UK’s new relationship with the EU, with UK membership of the customs union and EU regulatory bodies continuing unchanged during a transition period.

ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said:

“The Government and the EU must work together to minimise the business disruption from Brexit, both in the UK and in Europe. Our sectors are part of global industries, and rely on frictionless trade with our European partners and around the world.

“The best solution to protect UK competitiveness is to retain our current relationship with the EU during a transition period, giving businesses certainty that trade will not be disrupted and more time to plan for new arrangements after Brexit.

“Today’s announcement starts to give industry more clarity and it is welcome that all sides involved in negotiations recognise a transition period will be needed.

“However, the Government’s plan for a two-stage transition creates risks for business. We believe that a one-step transition would minimise the economic disruption to business experienced during Brexit.”

ADS sectors achieved exports worth £37bn to the UK last year – with £28bn from the aerospace sector alone – and it is vital for future growth that disruption during the Brexit process is minimised, and that new customs arrangements ensure frictionless trade without burdensome tariffs or regulatory barriers.

Maintaining existing arrangements means UK businesses would continue to benefit from bilateral mutual recognition agreements, such as those between the European Aviation Safety Agency and the United States, Canada and Brazil.

Under the Government’s proposed transition plan, agreements such as these would no longer apply to the UK, potentially disrupting trade with export markets around the world.


Notes to Editors

  1. To arrange interviews with ADS, contact Alex Hamilton, ADS Head of Media: 0207 091 1127; 
  2. ADS Group is the UK trade organisation representing the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors.
  3. For further detail on ADS’ Brexit priorities, visit: