‘Keep trade easy and minimise red tape’, says CBI

Carolyn Fairbairn

Government must let firms concentrate on jobs and growth by limiting red tape – that’s the message from the CBI as it releases a new report on future UK-EU trade.

The business organisation’s new report, ‘The Red Tape Challenge’, is based on conversations with hundreds of firms of all sizes and across every sector. It covers trade in services, trade in goods and customs arrangements.

The report’s concrete and practical recommendations respect the parameters for the negotiations set down by the Prime Minister in his Greenwich speech.

Frictionless trade is coming to an end. The challenge business and government now shares is to minimise red tape through negotiations so companies can focus on jobs and growth.

The CBI has outlaid measures on how this can be achieved, such as providing market access for serves to support UK firm’s competitiveness; cooperation on testing and compliance to reduce red tape and waste, and simplification of admin and documentation to keep paperwork to a minimum.

The report focuses on outcomes rather than negotiating strategies and does not seek to predict a ‘landing zone’ for the forthcoming talks.

“A clear democratic decision has been made to leave the EU. Firms are committed to seizing the opportunities and helping minimise any problems that emerge by working closely with government.  This is how we will build the most successful future for the UK economy,” said CBI Director-General, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn.

“With talks now in touching distance, the CBI has asked employers across the country what practical outcomes they need from the future EU relationship so they can concentrate on what they do best: investing, innovating, creating jobs and supporting a strong economy.

“The message is clear: keep trade easy and minimise red tape. For this reason, British firms back many of the Government’s objectives set out in the negotiating mandate, such as on zero tariffs and data.

“In other areas, how the Government strikes the balance between access and control is less clear. All efforts must be made in these talks to save exporters time and money, avoiding new paperwork, costs and delays.

“This will protect the UK’s global competitiveness, jobs and growth. The unique challenges facing Northern Ireland businesses should also be front of mind for negotiators.

“Firms are future-facing and believe Britain is well-placed to grasp new opportunities ahead, setting regulations for new technologies from artificial intelligence to quantum computing.

“Our recommendations aim to keep red tape low, while recognising that the ability to set its own rules is central to the Government’s ambition and can bring real opportunities for business.”