Keeping our capital working for the UK

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Working for a trade deal for business

A year on from Article 50 being triggered, we were delighted to offer members the opportunity to engage with Prof L Alan Winters, Director of UK Trade Policy Observatory, and Stephanie Flanders of Bloomberg, at a discussion hosted by Linklaters.

Prof. Winters was quick to set out that the EU summit 22-23 March had drastically reduced the likelihood of the UK leaving the EU in March 2019 without a deal, establishing some certainty for business. Nevertheless, the shape and timing of a future trade deal cementing the new relationship between the EU and the UK was still deemed unclear.

Winters reasoned that as long as the UK is not prepared to accept its obligations for the benefits of the EU single market the EU was unlikely to agree a future deal. It was contended that both the UK and the EU have a great interest in achieving a level of clarity, but that an agreement won’t be detailed by March 2019.

Winters focused on the intricate details of the difficulties of service trade agreements, as no trade agreements besides the EU provide the special kind of deal on financial services as sought by the UK government in the negotiations.

For businesses to keep running smoothly, Winters argued that staying in the UK customs union is an absolute necessity. Attributes of the single market, like regular alignment between markets, are however just as important, as the two systems “were designed together; if you are only in one you only have a quarter of the benefit.”

Professor Winters and Stephanie Flanders closed the session stating that businesses must make their needs and possible adverse effects of leaving the EU known to government to get a deal that works for business.

Read about our efforts the past year and our priorities in the negotiations here.

Sophia Wolpers, Brexit Policy Officer, and Natasha Ryan, Brexit Campaigns Manager

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