Brexit negotiations: CBI stresses need to get regulation right

Written by staff reporter

Business group the Confederation of British Industry has outlined a number of sector-specific considerations relating to the streamlining of regulations as part of ongoing Brexit negotiations.

The CBI’s study is based on thousands of conversations with UK businesses, as well as dozens of trade associations, and outlines the regulatory needs of 23 industry and service sectors, of which 18 prefer convergence or alignment for the majority of regulation that matters.

Compiled over a six-month period, the CBI’s study says Brexit presents opportunities for rule changes in sectors such as agriculture, shipping and tourism that could ultimately benefit the British economy and consumers. However, the report suggests that opportunities for divergence are vastly outweighed by the costs of deviating from rules necessary to ensure smooth access to the EU market. Another important finding is that changes to rules in one sector have significant knock on effects for companies in other sectors and throughout supply chains.

Commenting on the report, CBI innovation director, Tom Thackray, said the findings come from the “heart of British business” and provide unparalleled evidence to inform good decisions that will protect jobs, investment and living standards across the UK.
“The experience-based evidence of companies across the country will be essential in the months ahead, as it is critical that negotiators understand the complexity of rules and the effects even small changes can have,” he said.

“The UK is a world leading digital economy, and the tech and creative sectors are an exciting mix of home-grown entrepreneurial talent and international businesses. The tech economy is creating jobs twice as fast as the rest of the economy and spurring jobs and investment across the UK, so a close relationship between UK and EU rules in the technology and creative sectors will be necessary after Brexit to support truly global industries. British and European consumers and businesses both stand to benefit from getting it right on technology rules.”

Director-general of the group, Carolyn Fairbairn said the task of unpicking 40 years of economic and regulatory integration is “complex and colossal”.

Regulatory needs by sector (Source: CBI)

• Convergence on data standards that pave the way for an ‘adequacy agreement’ is a priority
• It will also be critical for the UK to continue to shape forthcoming regulations on the Digital Single Market to best reflect the need of UK businesses and consumers.

• Businesses require continued convergence on rules on roaming to avoid costs rising for consumers.
• EU regulation of the telecoms sector has been largely positive, and stability is the priority in order to continue achieving the good objectives of EU rules and preserve investment certainty.

• The UK will have to negotiate hard to convince the EU to ensure the UK’s licensed TV channels can continue broadcasting to EU consumers
• The UK will most likely need to continue to apply EU rules on broadcasting.

Creative industries
• Strong protections for intellectual property are critical to supporting the UK’s creative talent. The creative industries want to maintain as many of these protections as possible on leaving the EU.

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