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8 things the IoD wants the government to do in Brexit negotiations

03 Aug 2017
Two paper boats with British and European flags

The IoD has recently published several reports on Brexit and, based on feedback from members, the IoD recommends the government focuses on these points in its negotiations: 

1. Tariff-free and quota-free trade in goods

At present there is no charge for importing to and from the EU, but if the EU brings in tariffs after Brexit it would make our exports less attractive and would drive up costs here, assuming the UK reciprocates with its own tariffs.

2. Minimise customs delays

Alongside costs from tariffs, new paperwork or procedures that hold up the movement of good would make life difficult for British companies. While some are inevitable, policies and cooperation between customs authorities to keep these to a minimum are crucial.

3. Avoid the potential discrimination against services exports

Minimising the pain for the services sector, which comprises around 80 per cent of the UK economy, is just as important as maintaining existing maximum market access for goods exporters. An enforceable framework of principles that maintains a level playing field for government subsidies is key.

4. Minimise bureaucratic hurdles to employing EU citizens

Around 40 per cent of IoD members have at least one EU member of staff, and it will continue to be an important source of skills. To quell immediate uncertainty for people already here, the UK should guarantee the residency rights of EU citizens as soon as possible, and rapidly conclude an agreement with Brussels on reciprocal entitlement rights for UK and EU nations. General visa-free travel between the UK and EU needs to be maintained, and a preferential system between the two for future labour mobility arrangements to replace free movement should be a top priority. This needs to take into account employers’ needs for both graduate and non-graduate level skills.

5. Continue to participate in some EU R&D schemes

Research in areas such as advanced manufacturing and schemes such as Horizon 2020 are improved by international cooperation, and the UK will want to remain part of some programmes. The government must prioritise remaining a part of the European Research Area (ERA) and the Interreg programme, which allows non-EU countries some access to regional funding and cooperation programmes. For students, the Government should also ensure our universities can continue to participate in the Erasmus scheme.

6. Enforcement of contracts

Post-Brexit, the UK will no longer be under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, so another method is needed to settle disputes between companies doing business across the new border between the EU and UK. Dispute resolution systems are common in modern trade agreements.

7. Stability for regulation

The Government plans to transpose the EU law into UK law through the Great Repeal Bill. Post-Brexit, the government can look at simplifying red tape, but it should do so in an orderly fashion, so the rules don’t change too quickly, creating disruption.

8. Prioritise a transitional agreement

Securing the kind of comprehensive free trade deal we want to replace our current arrangements with the EU is going to be significant undertaking. A holding arrangement to allow government to negotiate all the details, and business time to adapt, is critical to a smooth and orderly Brexit. 


Navigating Brexit: Priorities for business, options for government

In this major report, the IoD looks at the options available to the Government, and spells out the priorities for IoD members.

Click here to download the report


Navigating Brexit for business

To help you navigate your way through the complex Brexit minefield, we have created a hub where you can find the latest information, guidance and advice to support and inform you and ensure you are fully up to date.

Visit our Navigating Brexit hub

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