Busi­nesses call against ‘hard’ Brexit

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

BRI­TISH busi­ness lead­ers have urged the gov­ern­ment to rule out a hard break with the Euro­pean Union, say­ing the un­cer­tainty over the terms of Brexit was im­pact­ing in­vest­ments.

“What we would like is the rul­ing out of the re­ally worst op­tions,” Carolyn Fair­bairn, the di­rec­tor gen­eral of CBI, Bri­tain’s big­gest busi­ness lobby group, told BBC ra­dio.

She out­lined her case in an open let­ter to the gov­ern­ment which was also signed by the heads of the EEF man­u­fac­tur­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion, the In­ter­na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce UK and the techUK tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try.

They warned against a sit­u­a­tion where Bri­tain leaves the EU sin­gle mar­ket with­out hav­ing a new trade deal in place, mean­ing it would re­vert to trad­ing un­der World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion rules.

“Falling into WTO rules in only 29 months from now, which is the prospec­tive timetable, would mean up to 90 per­cent of goods could have tar­iffs on them,” Ms Fair­bairn said.

She said rul­ing out “some of these re­ally neg­a­tive op­tions “would help to re­as­sure in­vestors that the UK was still a re­ally good place to in­vest”.

The let­ter calls for con­tin­ued bar­rier-free ac­cess to the EU’s sin­gle mar­ket and for a tran­si­tional deal to give busi­nesses cer­tainty un­til a new deal with the EU is agreed.

It comes after a tu­mul­tuous week of in­creas­ing mar­ket ner­vous­ness over Brexit, cul­mi­nat­ing in a “flash crash” of the pound.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May in­tends to start the two-year process of with­drawal by March next year.

While giv­ing few de­tails of her strat­egy, she has in­di­cated that she will pri­ori­tise cut­ting im­mi­gra­tion – a key is­sue in the ref­er­en­dum cam­paign – over ac­cess to the sin­gle EU mar­ket.

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