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Brexit - News

IoD responds to PM speech on Brexit priorities

17 Jan 2017

Union Jack and EU flag split diagonally

In response to the Prime Minister’s speech on Brexit, Allie Renison, Head of Europe and Trade Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

"We welcome the level of detail provided in the PM's speech and her commitment to providing certainty wherever possible, which is absolutely vital for business if they are to navigate and make the best of Brexit. Whatever the shape of the final trade deal, a smooth and orderly departure is in the whole country’s interests, so businesses will support the commitment to a phased process of implementation. While we do not expect a running commentary, firms hope to get periodic updates to maintain confidence as we make our way towards the exit.

“We now know that we will be leaving the Single Market, and while there will be firms who regret this, they will at least be able to plan on that basis. Business leaders will be heartened by the Prime Minister’s strong argument for the value of free trade, an argument currently being made by all too few global leaders. The UK was always going to have to negotiate a separate customs agreement with the EU if we left the European Economic Area, so the aim must be a new deal that creates minimum disruption for importers and exporters.  

“The Prime Minister does not want an ‘off-the-shelf’ Brexit model, but the more bespoke an arrangement being sought, the longer companies will have to wait to see details before they can plan. Negotiations will involve lots of back and forth between the UK and EU and both sides will need to show some flexibility. From the point of view of business, getting a broad-ranging free trade deal would be preferable to falling back on World Trade Organisation rules.

“We would urge the EU to match the Government's approach in taking a long-term, big-picture view about the need for cooperation and partnership in future.”