Terry Scuoler, CEO of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, says: “Now that the stopwatch on leaving the EU has been triggered the Government must ensure Britain’s manufacturers are not disadvantaged in any way as we prepare to leave. I strongly welcome the Prime Minister’s positive tone in calling for a deep and special partnership with the EU as we must work together with our European partners to achieve a new relationship, and one with effortless trade, which works for both Britain and the EU.
“While she says there is no turning back, she must ensure that the Government heads in the right direction and is not unduly driven by those who will pressurise her to leave the EU without a deal. That cannot be an option. Doing all of this within a two-year timetable will be fiendishly difficult, if not impossible, and Britain will need to seek a transition period to enable all sides to adjust and avoid serious economic shocks. Businesses must also be able to continue to employ and deploy staff as freely as possible.
“A deal that leads to more bureaucracy and more cost for companies would be a very poor deal for Britain. Both sides should work towards a form of regulatory co-operation that allows current comprehensive trade arrangements to continue and make little or no change in the regulatory environment before a negotiated deal has time to bed in. Our mutual national economic interest is at stake and the Government must work hand-in-glove with industry to get this process right and avoid cavalier or ill-judged negotiating positions which could cause long-term and potentially severe damage.”