No Brexit trade deal would be ‘lose-lose for both sides’

Both the UK and the EU have been urged to reach a deal before the UK leaves the EU. The director general of the BCC also hit out at the “demonisation” of capitalism in the UK by some politicians.

EU and UK flag
Failure by the UK and European Union to speedily begin talks on future trade arrangements will produce a “lose-lose scenario” for both sides, the head of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) warned.

European and British businesses hoping for ‘clarity’

Addressing the organisation’s international trade summit in Birmingham, BCC director-general Adam Marshall said it would be “unforgivable” if entrenched positions by both sides – currently deadlocked over the Brexit ‘divorce bill’, the Irish border and expats’ rights – resulted in existing trade arrangements being damaged.“I want to urge both the UK government and the EU27 to strain every sinew to move ahead, and put trade and transition at the heart of negotiations by the end of 2017,” Mr Marshall said.“European businesses need clarity. British businesses need clarity. Third country businesses need clarity – with American, Japanese, Australian, Indian and Canadian firms pressing for this.“Further delays to trade and transition talks would create a lose-lose scenario for everyone with a stake in the game. It would be unforgivable for politicians on either side of the Channel to privilege brinksmanship and disruption over thriving trade.“With each passing day, and each delay to negotiations, the siren voices of those who claim that Britain should leave the EU in March 2019 without a deal grow louder. Superficially, their argument is attractive. A short, sharp change would be followed by immediate clarity for businesses on their terms of trade, and freedom for the UK to do deals with third countries. “Yet dig beneath the surface and this argument crumbles away. Confusion would reign at ports and airports, as customs systems simply are not ready to deal with a ‘no deal’ outcome. The legal status of cross-border contracts could be challenged. Securing existing free trade deals and market access, negotiated while the UK was part of the EU, becomes manifestly more difficult.”
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Concern over political attacks on capitalism

Mr Marshall also hit out at the “demonisation” of capitalism by some UK politicians in a bid to boost their poll ratings. He said that even if the UK got the best possible Brexit deal, “it wouldn’t be worth the paper it’s written on if we don’t have the right conditions for businesses to grow and thrive in the UK”.He added, “In recent years, an entrepreneur could be forgiven for thinking that the British political establishment had turned lock, stock and barrel against business.“While politicians exhort businesses to trade more overseas, new input costs are piled on firms year after year without a second thought; our trading infrastructure continues to creak at the seams; and party leaders compete with each other to demonstrate who can wag their finger most furiously at corporate Britain.“Some even encourage the demonisation of capitalism and enterprise, which have brought us so much prosperity and success.”Mr Marshall’s comments came as Marcus Dolman, vice-president for customer finance at Rolls-Royce and co-chairman of the British Exporters’ Association, also warned that the remaining EU countries had much to lose unless a Brexit trade deal was reached.Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said, “I think we have to remember here that a deal is in the best interest of the UK and the EU, it’s not just the UK that is looking towards a deal. It’s for EU businesses as well.”For related news and features, visit our Brexit section.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  

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