Businesses outline top 5 Brexit negotiation targets
The CBI has set out five principles that should underpin the UK’s negotiations with the EU to ensure the most successful future for the UK economy, as the Prime Minister meets European leaders this week.
The UK’s leading business group is calling for the government to build a new partnership with businesses from all sectors and of all sizes to enable the UK to seize the best opportunities outside the EU, while safeguarding the benefits of a close relationship with EU neighbours.
In the weeks since the vote to leave the EU, the CBI has called for a timetable and plan from the UK Government prior to triggering Article 50, as well as protecting the status of current EU migrants, which remains a primary concern for business and employees. It has now held initial consultations with more than 500 members and is undertaking a series of events with companies across the UK’s regions and nations to understand their priorities and to support the government when talks begin.
Firms see five clear principles as key to economic success in future negotiations:
- Retaining the ease of UK-EU trade that businesses gain from the Single Market
- Balancing regulatory equivalence with the EU with flexibility and influence over the domestic environment
- Ensuring the UK’s migration system allows companies to access the people and skills they need, while recognising public concerns
- Developing a clear strategy for international trade and economic agreements
- Protecting the economic and social benefits of EU funded projects.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:
“As the UK plots a new course with Europe and the rest of the world, businesses across the country are determined to build on the economic benefits of a close relationship with the EU and seize new opportunities for future growth.
“Firms from all sectors are pulling together and through the CBI’s recent consultation have set out what they need from the negotiations to maintain stability and secure a prosperous future for the UK economy.
“The principles are clear: businesses want to continue trading easily with EU neighbours while bringing down barriers to new opportunities around the world. They also highlight the need to strike a balance between UK and EU-led regulation in future, to ensure access to global talent while recognising public concerns, and for clear plans to replace EU funding.
“To achieve this, a new, deep partnership will be needed between the government and firms of all sizes across the UK. Firms recognise that trade-offs may be necessary but that they should be guided by these principles.
“Many businesses are still working through exactly what a vote to leave may mean for them, but in the meantime are getting on with providing stability and jobs in their communities. To support this goal, businesses want the government to focus on domestic priorities, including a swift decision on new airport capacity, while setting a clear plan and timetable for the negotiations.
“The CBI will continue to consult and represent its members, working alongside trade associations, business groups and other partners, and will support the Government using its UK and European business networks and policy leadership to secure the best deal for the UK.”
A report outlining the CBI’s five principles for negotiation has been sent to the new Government, including the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and the Secretary of State for International Trade.
Summary of key principles to ensure future UK economic success:
1.Retaining the ease of UK-EU trade that businesses get from the single market
- Keeping UK-EU trade tariff-free should be one of the Government’s highest priorities
- The right of UK services companies to establish and provide services in other EU countries should be maintained
- Non-tariff barriers on UK-EU trade should be kept as low as possible.
2. Balancing regulatory equivalence with the EU with flexibility and influence over the domestic environment
- Mechanisms for continued UK involvement in areas where the EU currently facilitates international collaboration will have to be negotiated
- A long-term strategy for influencing new EU rules and standards that may still apply to UK businesses after exit will have to be established
- Close cooperation between Government and businesses of highly tradable sectors will be necessary when approaching complex regulatory issues.
3. Ensuring the UK’s migration system allows companies to access the people and skills that they need, while recognising public concerns
- Reassurances should be made for EU migrants already in the UK, and UK citizens resident in the EU, with clarification clearly given on how they can remain once the UK has left the EU
- Business and government should work closely together to build an immigration system that works for the economy and for society
- European students currently applying to study in the UK, and British students currently applying to study in the EU, should be encouraged to continue.
4. Developing a clear strategy for international trade and economic agreements
- Preferential access to markets through EU-third party trade deals – in force and close to completion – and WTO deals should be protected
- Initial continuity on all international agreements currently managed through the European Union should be established
- International markets should be carefully prioritised to make the most of new opportunities.
5. Protecting the economic and social benefits of EU funded projects
- New strategies will be required for domestic investment in the areas currently covered by European funds
- Clarification is urgently needed for funds that have not yet been allocated and the future of the UK’s involvement in collaborative projects
- Where EU funding commitments have already been made, protection and reassurance is needed, with particular mind to projects scheduled for completion beyond the UK’s exit from the EU.
Read the July EURO 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine.
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