Today, the Institute of Directors released a report called ‘Navigating Brexit: Priorities for business, options for government’. The report calls on the Government to ensure as smooth a Brexit process as possible, avoiding a cliff edge Brexit scenario in which the UK would need to fall back on The World Trade Organization’s non-favourable rules for EU trade. Stephen Martin, director general at the Institute of Directors, said ‘the Government must maintain business confidence through consistent communication that they are working to avoid a ‘cliff edge’ scenario, where the UK has to fall back on WTO rules for trading with the EU.’
The IoD has expressed its concerns about the negotiation process, saying that the two-year countdown, once Article 50 has been triggered, may not be long enough to negotiate both a favourable exit deal and a free trade agreement with the European Union. The institute has pressed the Government to attempt an early accord with the EU, which could extend negotiation discourse to one or two years, if it is necessary to do so. The majority of IoD members agree that the most pressing concern regarding the trade negotiations is the actual result of them. The time in which to achieve the most desirable agreement is only a concern for 17 percent of people working at the organisation.
Further, the major organization has called on the Government to rule out a second referendum in the next Parliament, to minimize current economic uncertainty and to ensure a smooth process, avoiding the cliff edge Brexit scenario. ‘Businesses want as much stability and certainty as possible, so we call on politicians of all parties to agree that there will be no second EU referendum in the next Parliament’, Martin said.
The report also calls on the Prime Minister to immediately guarantee that the three million EU citizens living in the UK will be able to remain in order to protect the workforce of Britain’s businesses—40 percent of the IoD’s workforce are EU members. It also urges the Government to consider re-joining the European Free Trade Association, which would still allow the UK to make their own trade agreements outside the EU, and to prioritise regulatory stability for businesses in the Great Repeal Bill. Even though the hope is that the best possible outcome will be a favourable Free Trade Agreement with the EU, avoiding a cliff edge Brexit, Allie Renison, Head of EU and Trade Policy and author of the report, said, ‘The Government must work towards a good trade deal with the EU, but business have to be prepared for all eventualities, including that we leave the EU with no deal signed. We urge all members to begin assessing their degree of exposure to Brexit, undertaking discussions with clients, customers and suppliers about how to maintain and strengthen trade links during this process and beyond.’
You can read the full report, here: Navigating Brexit: Priorities for business, options for government