Jacob Rees-Mogg has promised “cut through the thicket” of red tape and claimed that Brexit is “already a success”.
The minister for Brexit opportunities was speaking during a visit to Britain’s biggest container port, Felixstowe, which is also part of Freeport East.
‘No evidence’ of Brexit trade dip
Rees-Mogg told the BBC that “evidence that Brexit has caused trade drops is few and far between” and pointed the finger at global Covid disruption.
“We’ve had containers simply being stuck the wrong place, being stuck in Chinese ports, being stuck in the port of Los Angeles,” he said. “This has been a global trade issue - and we do have to recover from the problems of Covid.”
Rees-Mogg has also backed a report from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) calling for the UK to unilaterally recognise the regulations of other territories for the acceptance of imported goods on to the UK market.
New research from the British Chambers of Commerce has found that seven out of ten companies (71%) believe the Brexit trade deal has been bad for business and held back growth, with a majority reporting it has pushed up costs and increased paperwork.
One in eight companies (12%) said Brexit was helping them.
Koyas Miah of the local Suffolk Chamber of Commerce told the BBC that many of its members had seen a rise in the costs of administration following Brexit, and that trading rules are being interpreted differently across the EU.
“What businesses are now facing is one EU country saying they want XYZ for paperwork, but the other (EU country) wants something completely different,” he said.
He called for the Brexit minister to bring more clarity to the situation.