These meetings were organised to press the case for continuity of trade in a ‘no deal’ scenario, outlining the mutual benefits of reaching a trade agreement and the severe impact for both UK firms and businesses in their respective countries of trading on WTO terms.
Growing the CBI’s international reach at a time where the UK is redefining its global relationships is a priority. Through our trade team in London and international offices, we are well positioned to influence on behalf of UK business on trade policy. That includes future trade negotiations, but also improving market access for members in the interim.
The government has confirmed a post-Brexit trade agreement with Norway, but our understanding is that this will be a narrow and basic arrangement compared to existing trade conditions. It is therefore imperative for British firms that building on that agreement is seen as a priority for the government and the Norwegians.
On Canada, CETA has been instrumental in growing UK-Canada trade, with a 14% growth in exports to Canada in the first 12 months of the agreement being in place. Ensuring these benefits are maintained is a priority for the CBI’s trade team.
And with South Africa, the current EU trade agreement has benefitted both countries’ economies. UK businesses have a significant interest in maintaining trade arrangements and the CBI will continue to use its contacts to influence on behalf of members.