Furniture industry calls for post-Brexit trade clarity

29 Jan, 18

Calls for clarity over trade for furniture imports and exports

British Furniture Confederation (BFC) chairman Jonathan Hurdle recently gave evidence to Parliament on the Government’s proposed Trade Bill.

The Trade Bill’s Public Bill Committee is in the process of examining the Bill line by line and is taking evidence from relevant bodies across the UK and across industry.

Trade Minister Greg Hands MP, Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner MP, SNP Trade Spokesperson Hannah Bardell MP and Shadow Business Minister Bill Esterson MP were all present on the committee.

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Jonathan Hurdle took the opportunity to seek clarity and continuity for the furniture industry as the UK leaves the European Union. He explained as a pragmatic industry with exporters who already trade globally, the concerns relayed to him were about a lack of clarity on what the post-Brexit system will look like, and the effect that a weakened Pound could have.

He cautiously welcomed the creation of a Trade Remedies Authority on the condition that it marked a step change in the policing and surveillance of UK regulations on key standards, such as flammability and strength and stability measures.

Hurdle stated the BFC’s support for BSI retaining its membership of the European Committee of Standardisation and suggested rather than a watering down of standards, the bigger issue faced by the sector was ensuring standards were consistently met.

He also took the opportunity to underline the importance of the enforcement of intellectual property rights to the furniture industry.

Hurdle commented: “This was an opportunity to take the message to a wider audience of MPs that the furniture industry is not looking for protectionist measures or hand-outs after Brexit. That being said, the Government must provide as much clarity on the UK’s trade regime as early as possible so that imports and exports can continue as usual on day one.”