Business groups respond to government’s Brexit transition period agreement

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Business groups, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Institute of Directors (IoD) have responded to the news that the government has agreed terms for the UK’s Brexit transitional period.

The government outlined that the transitional period will last from 29 March 2019, the day when the UK will officially leave the EU, until 31 December 2020. During this transition period, the UK will be permitted to sign its own trade deals, the government said.

Many business groups welcomed the news. Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: ‘This is a milestone that many businesses across the UK have been waiting for. The agreement of a status quo transition period is great news for trading firms on both sides of the Channel, as it means that they will face little or no change in day-to-day business in the short-term.’

The CBI hailed the agreement as a ‘victory for common sense’. Carolyn Fairbairn, its Director General, commented: ‘Agreeing transition is a critical milestone that will provide many hundreds of businesses with the confidence to put their contingency planning on hold and keep investing in the UK.’

Whilst the IoD welcomed the news, it also warned the government that it needs to focus on the ‘finer details and practical implications’ associated with the transition. Allie Renison, Head of Europe and Trade Policy at the IoD, stated: ‘Many businesses will only be able to sufficiently plan and prepare for Brexit once the precise details of the future relationship are known, and any changes to domestic infrastructure, like customs, have been implemented.’