British businesses need ‘barrier-free’ trade with EU, says CBI
Posted by Richard Bell on 21 Dec 2016
Companies in the UK must continue to have "barrier-free" access to the European Union markets after Brexit, the Confederation of British Industry has warned.
The business lobby group said UK firms should not be faced with trade tariffs and called for a migration system that allows them to obtain the skills and labour needed.
The government has said it is committed to obtaining the best possible access to EU markets.
In a report, the CBI also reiterated its calls for a "smooth exit" from the bloc, saying the UK should avoid a making a "cliff edge" break as it leaves the EU.
The organisation said it has spoken with trade associations and businesses of all sizes since Brits voted to leave the EU in June’s referendum.
In a statement, the CBI said: “There are serious concerns in the business community about disruption if the day after the UK leaves the EU, its final ‘deal’ is not complete, with all trading and regulatory issues fully ironed out.“
The report called on the government to take a "whole economy" approach to its negotiations, ensuring individual sectors are not left out.
The statement continued: “There are some companies for whom avoiding high tariffs on their goods trade is critical, and others who prioritise avoiding non-tariff barriers to trade, particularly around services.
"Additional barriers to any sector’s trade will be detrimental to other sectors. A new arrangement with the EU must therefore be open and comprehensive, covering goods and services, tariffs and non-tariff barriers."
In response, a government spokesperson said it agreed with the CBI’s call for an exit that works for all of the economy.
They said: “The prime minister has made clear that we will deliver the best possible access for UK businesses trading with – and operating within – the European market.“