An EU trade agreement that works for business

An EU trade agreement that works for business

A good deal is essential for business’ recovery post-coronavirus


Coronavirus has consumed UK business’ attention, leaving them unable to prepare for a chaotic exit from the EU. A good deal with the EU will be key for the future of our economy, jobs and livelihoods – and will allow the UK to take full advantage of new freedoms while balancing the needs of the economy.


The change we're calling for


A future relationship that safeguards jobs, growth and prosperity is vital to competitiveness. The agreement must support the UK’s world-leading services firms, free UK exporters’ hands from red tape, and facilitate simpler customs procedures. That’s why we’re asking the government to build a future economic relationship that truly works for UK firms.

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    Deliver an ambitious trade deal with the EU which ensures comprehensive coverage of services trade, cooperation on regulation, and makes customs simple

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    Minimise disruption and avoid unnecessary costs and barriers to trade by reducing red tape

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    Help business prepare for the future trading relationship by keeping firms informed of key decisions


Why it's needed


Our trading relationship with the EU will determine how future generations live and work in the UK for decades to come. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, business and the economy need an ambitious trade deal that supports international competitiveness.

Business backs many of the government’s objectives for the future trading relationship with the EU, from tariff free trade to mutual recognition of qualifications. But when it comes to the UK’s services trade, cooperation on regulation and customs procedures, how the UK strikes a balance between access and control will be vital in ensuring future prosperity.

The business voice is critical to ensure a good relationship is secured and prosperity is shared across the UK. But in order for business to support government in this endeavour, the debate must remain rooted in commercial realities.

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"Now it’s time to look forward, not backward, and build an unbreakable partnership between business and government. The message from business is clear: we’re here to help and play our part."

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director General

A good relationship matters for every business

Opening doors of opportunity and preventing disruption

As the UK and EU prepare to negotiate their new economic relationship, the role of business will be vital. A trading relationship that lets business focus on growth, on R&D and on innovation will be essential.

  • 40% of UK services exports go to the EU: worth £120 billion to the UK economy in 2018

  • The EU is the UK’s largest trading partner for goods, accounting for 50% of total exports in 2018 - over £170 billion every year

  • 78% of UK exporters sell into the EU32 and its 446 million consumers. 96% of these firms are SMEs

A business plan for a future relationship

To confidently invest in the jobs and opportunities that create prosperity, business needs a deal that ensures the UK remains open to the world, delivers ambitious cooperation and allows access to the talent needed to grow. And, in the case of a no deal, business needs to be prepared in order to mitigate against the potential impact. Find out what business’ priorities are for the future relationship and how firms can prepare.


Our progress and impact


The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.

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Support the change

  1. Are you a business leader?


    Join the CBI

    Our members are our mandate, and the reason we’re the most influential business organisation in the UK. Join the voice of business, and help us campaign to shape a Brexit that works for business.

    Find out more
  2. Are you a CBI member?


    Have your say

    Concerned about the impact of no-deal, access to EU talent, or trading relationships with EU nations? Share your views and help strengthen our calls to government.

    Get involved
  3. Are you a policymaker?


    Make a difference

    This campaign is led by the CBI's EU Negotiations team.

    Contact Nicole Sykes, Head of EU Negotiations, to find out why businesses are urgently trying to avoid no-deal and how you can support this aim.

    Contact us