IoD publishes roadmap for UK-EU trade cooperation

The Institute of Directors has today published a landmark report, A Trade Policy Roadmap – Sweden, EU and the UK, setting out a roadmap for cooperation between the UK and EU on a positive long-term global trade agenda.

Jointly commissioned by the IoD and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, the report calls on governments and policy-makers across Britain, Sweden and the EU to work together to focus international trade policy on competitiveness and sustainability. 

The report outlines areas and proposals where the UK and EU share common long-term interests in the rules-based system, and sets out recommendations for joint, as well as coordinated unilateral, action to keep trade free, fair and sustainable.  These recommendations include:

  • Expanding WTO agreements
  • Improving transparency on trade
  • Using the bilateral trade deal to leverage global progress on e-commerce and subsidy rules
  • Cooperation on data flows and digital regulation
  • Enhancing trade policy for the green transition
  • Using trade arrangements to further development priorities

Whilst recognising that there are challenges and opportunities arising from the coronavirus pandemic, the roadmap seeks to focus attention on more fundamental long-term horizons to the benefit of business and consumers alike.

Commenting on the report, Dr Roger Barker, Director of Policy and Corporate Governance for the IoD, said:

“This report is a timely reminder that on the big issues for trade, there is much more in common than divides the UK and EU. 

“With Brexit in the rear-view mirror, it is time for all sides to focus on the partnership side of our new relationship. Competition will inevitably be part of this too, but cooperation is vital to our path back to growth and prosperity.  It was in this spirit that we collaborated with our Swedish partners to produce this report.

“As the UK hosts a number of crucial global summits this year, we need strength in numbers to tackle the opportunities and challenges that await. Our continued shared interests and commercial ties to the EU should be a springboard to leveraging global progress on building back better.”

Anna Stellinger, Deputy Director General, Head of International and EU Affairs at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, said:

“The UK has over the past decades been not only one of the major trading partners of Sweden, with crucial flows of goods and services, but also Sweden’s closest ally in the EU. Our countries – and businesses – are profoundly anchored in the conviction that openness, trade and competitiveness is the way forward. With Brexit, it is important that we examine in which areas we can continue to work together. This report is a great contribution to that discussion.”