13 January 2020
The Government should build strong mandates by work closely together with business, using its evidence and expertise, in order to make a success of the UK’s trade negotiations, according to a new paper from the CBI.
In Building a World-Leading UK Trade Policy, Britain’s largest business group highlights the principles – formal business engagement to make the best use of firms’ expertise, transparency and a strong mandate based on economic evidence – that will give the UK the best chance of an edge and maximum leverage whilst negotiating trade deals.
The CBI also makes several practical recommendations for how to build a world-leading British trade policy, including:
- Appointing a Chief Business Trade Envoy to gather business intelligence, be a single point of government contact for firms, and ensure policy coherence
- Taking business delegations to negotiations to strengthen the UK’s hand and give negotiators immediate access to technical and “shop floor” expertise
- Extending the remit of existing Department for International Trade (DIT) Expert Trade Advisory Groups to create Thematic and Sectoral Trade Advisory Groups providing detailed advice for specific sectors
- Setting up a high-level Strategic EU Trade Advisory Group for EU trade negotiations.
These recommendations build on and expand the work already done by DIT for global trade deals, creating a comprehensive approach which would cover the UK’s future negotiations with the EU, and ensure co-ordination between the UK’s approach to the EU and its ambitions for the rest of the world.
Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:
“For the first time in close to fifty years, the UK has the opportunity to build its own trade policy. If we get it right, there is tremendous potential, from more choice and lower prices for consumers to a bigger British economy with prosperity shared more equally across the country.
“The key for the Government to unlock that success is simple – make the best use of the wealth of expertise business has to offer. It is firms that trade most goods and services, are at the front line of market access barriers, and strike deals every day the world over. Their knowledge and insight – from the factory, shop and office floor to the boardroom – will be mission critical to the UK’s trading future.
“Working closely with business and learning from the success of international trading powerhouses will enable the Government to have crystal clear objectives and maximum leverage when striking ambitious new trade deals. If this is combined with a transparent approach that builds buy-in across the country, the UK has a fantastic chance to build the strongest of trade links with partners old and new.”