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21 July 2016

  |  CBI Press Team

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CBI-MEDEF joint communiqué on Franco-British relations

A long-planned senior delegation from the French Business Confederation  MEDEF came to the UK this week for meetings with key political figures and business leaders.

Image of CBI-MEDEF joint communiqué on Franco-British relations

MEDEF’s President Pierre Gattaz met with CBI President Paul Drechsler to discuss the future relationship between France and the UK after the British public’s democratic and historic decision on 23 June to leave the EU.

The Presidents of the CBI and MEDEF issued the following statement after today’s meeting:

The Franco-British relationship is a very strong one. We stand, more than ever, united alongside one another as we work out what kind of future relationship the UK will have with the rest of the EU. We will remain close friends and strong allies on many topics, highlighted by the UK and France’s stance together as the two biggest diplomatic and military powers in Europe.

Trade between the UK and France has doubled since the creation of the Single Market in the 1990s. The UK’s exports of goods and services to France totalled £13.9 billion in 2014. Many French companies have important subsidiary operations in the UK - there are roughly 3,000 French companies operating in the UK, together employing nearly 400,000 people. Likewise, over 2300 UK companies have important subsidiary operations in France, employing over 230,000 people.

The CBI and MEDEF have therefore committed to working closely together as British and French companies seek to overcome the challenges and grasp any opportunities that will arise as a result of this decision. It is important as a first step, that the current spirit of openness is maintained to sustain the prosperous trade links between the UK and France. Furthermore, firms need to be closely involved in partnership with government as plans take shape for Brexit negotiations.  Business wants to see a clear plan emerge quickly.  

With over 300,000 French nationals currently living in the UK and over 170,000 British citizens living in France, it is vital that their long-term residence and employment rights are safeguarded. This is clearly the right thing to do and the skills that these citizens possess are crucial to the success of both the UK and French economies, both now and as we progress into the future. 

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