James Ashton-Bell, CBI Head of Trade, said:
“Firms will warmly welcome the Government's commitment that free and fair trade will stay at the heart of UK policymaking. Open markets benefit every country, and are an important catalyst for growth and living standards.
“With 45% of UK exports currently destined for the European Union, the top priority for firms remains a good trade deal with the EU. However, comprehensive trade agreements with close partners like Australia, and looking seriously at existing agreements like CPTPP, are worthwhile ambitions that have the potential to open up new opportunities for British businesses in some of the world's rapidly growing markets.
“We look forward to working closely with the Government throughout the consultation process to ensure the interests of business are reflected in the UK’s trade policy. But unless and until a solution can be found to secure frictionless trade with our closest trade partner, the EU, these other ambitions must proceed at a slower pace.”