IoD: Avoiding trade ‘cliff-edge’ is Brexit priority for business

There is no doubt that there will be challenges along the way when Brexit negotiations begin, expected in March, but none are insurmountable if politicians on all sides approach them with a constructive attitude.

In this major report, the IoD looks at the options available to the Government, and spells out the priorities for IoD members. Chief among business leaders’ requests is that the Prime Minister makes sure there is enough time for a new free trade agreement to be signed with the EU before we leave. Companies have shown themselves to be resilient since the referendum vote, with IoD members increasing in confidence over the last few months, but falling out of the EU without a trade deal would cause considerable economic turbulence.

Stephen Martin, Director General at the IoD 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.”

Three top priorities the IoD has outlined are:

  • Government to agree with EU to extend two-year negotiating period, if necessary, to get good trade deal.
  • Call for politicians on all sides to rule out a second referendum in the next parliament, to reduce uncertainty.
  • Businesses to start planning for different outcomes of the talks now, and working out how to maintain and increase trade post-Brexit.

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