Federation comments on draft Withdrawal Agreement

After the publication of the draft Withdrawal Agreement with respect to the UK's departure from the European Union, the Federation issued the following statement on 19 November.

“The Federation believes the draft Withdrawal Agreement is a welcome step which gives local industry some of the clarity it has long sought.

“Our view is that this is the best deal that the Government could have achieved in the political and economic circumstances that it, Parliament and the country face and it, critically, delivers on many of the key elements within our own Brexit position paper of autumn 2016, namely:

  • An agreed transition period
  • Tariff-free and barrier-free access for all construction product imports and exports with the EU for the duration of the transition period
  • A framework that will enable an ambitious and comprehensive new free trade deal with the EU at the end of the transition period
  • Confirmation of the rights of construction and allied workers from the EU who are already working in the UK
  • The maintenance of a soft border with the Republic of Ireland and no new measures which would be detrimental to the continuation of the UK single internal market
  • Clarity around key areas such as public procurement and mutual recognition of qualifications for the duration of the transition period

“It is now important that minds focus on the importance of approving the deal as well as the critical negotiations that will follow on a new, comprehensive free trade deal between the UK and EU. It is imperative that this future deal, much as has already been stated by the UK and EU, means there is no need for a Northern Ireland-specific backstop and we absolutely believe that this is achievable.

“As far as our membership is concerned, however, a no-deal Brexit is not an option – something that was clearly implicit in our own position paper of over two years ago”.