26 January 2018
On the need for an urgent, time-limited Brexit transition agreement as soon as possible, Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:
“A status quo, jobs-first transition deal between the UK and the EU needs to be nailed down in the next 65 days to give firms of all sizes the certainty they need to continue growing.
“The steps outlined by the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU will hopefully bring that agreement closer.
“This is urgent – there has already been a steady drip drip of investment leaving our shores that will turn into a flood if agreements aren’t finalised as soon as possible.
“Early agreement on transition will allow negotiators to get on with the real task at hand - progressing an ambitious new future economic relationship which preserves barrier-free access to European markets while respecting the Referendum’s call for more control.”
On the ability of the UK to hold trade negotiations during a time-limited transition period,
Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:
“It’s important to remember that trade isn’t just about trade deals. The UK government and business already have huge opportunities to turbo-charge trade without free trade agreements.
“The ambition to grow trade is the right one but it can be achieved while in a customs union, and the EU and our current agreements must come first to protect existing jobs and trade. There may come a time when the opportunity to set independent trade policies outweighs the value of a customs union with the EU - but that day hasn’t yet arrived.
“Our future trading relationship with the EU is pivotal to the UK's prosperity, not only as our closest trading partner but also as a blueprint for future trading relationships with other nations.
“That’s why we need to stay in a customs union and the single market during transition, and a customs union afterwards until an alternative that is better for jobs growth and living standards is available.”
NB Germany trades 4.7 more goods and services to China from within the Customs Union.
Notes to Editors
Across the UK, the CBI speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors. The CBI’s corporate members together employ nearly 7 million people, about one third of private sector-employees. With offices in the UK as well as representation in Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Delhi, the CBI communicates the British business voice around the world.
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