MAKING A SUCCESS OF BREXIT
EU membership currently allows professional and business services companies in the UK to establish and offer services in any other EU country. This has come through breaking down complex regulatory barriers such as national limitations on the number of sellers in the market, restrictions on levels of foreign ownership and forms of commercial entity. The removal of these barriers is particularly advantageous for small businesses, who offer their services through phone, email and physical meetings to EU clients.
There are concerns that if no deal with the EU is secured which covers services liberalisation, the UK's professional and business services industry will face the restoration of these obstacles. If the UK is not treated preferentially compared with the rest of the world, numerous regulatory measures designed to discriminate against "foreign" firms may be restored. These could impose additional costs on UK firms – such as the imposition of additional requirements for supervisory approval in several jurisdictions – or remove access all together – for example through exclusion from public procurement procedures.
The professional and business services industry is a people industry, where human capital is their greatest strength. It is also mobile, with its people moving across sectors and countries, bringing the innovation and high standards that give companies a competitive edge. Continued access to high-skilled workers and simple systems of intra-company transfers – without limitations on stays – is one of the leading priorities of the professional and business services sectors.
In a global marketplace, competition for business is fierce. The UK's reputation as a world-leading provider of services will be important to maintain. Additionally, any advantages the UK's professional and business services could secure through new international trade agreements could provide an edge.
For professional and business services at the CBI, contact: Lara Robinson on 0207 395 8040 or Lara.Robinson@cbi.org.uk
 CBI, November 2016 Services Sector Survey