UK sets up trade advisory groups, but 'business concerns still being routinely ignored by Number 10'

The Department for International Trade has set up 11 groups covering a range of areas, such as investment, life sciences, and financial services, to help advise on negotiations as the UK aims to step up talks with countries including the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

The UK Government says "Their advice will be used to help inform the government’s negotiating position and deliver key industry asks that benefit the whole UK, including securing new market access on products like ceramics, cars, steel and beef, and agreeing cutting-edge digital trade rules.

Commenting, Best for Britain CEO Naomi Smith said:

"While it’s good news that the government is finally involving industry in some of its trade deal plans, business concerns about the limited progress towards tariff- and barrier-free trade with the EU after Brexit are still being routinely ignored by Number 10.

“It’s not just best practice to consult business leaders during trade negotiations, it’s basic common sense. And it’s particularly critical to do so when negotiating a deal with your nearest and biggest trading partner.”

What does 'best practice' in trade look like?

In a major new report, The UK’s Negotiations with the EU on a New Trading Future - Aspirations, Benchmarks and Measures of Success, commissioned by non-partisan campaign group Best for Britain, Tim Ward and Namali Mackay provide the first detailed analysis of the government’s ambitions for a trade deal, and the realities facing their negotiating teams. 

The Government in its 2019 Political Declaration and in its manifesto, promised free and frictionless trade with the EU on goods and services. A new report identifies the seventeen promises that the Government must fulfil to deliver the comprehensive deal we were assured.

Unfortunately, for many of these key promises, from transparent rules of origin laws to no tariff trading and the free exchange services, the UK faces an uphill struggle to deliver. Some issues, like fisheries, regulatory alignment and 'level playing field', are at complete stalemate, with the UK unwilling to compromise to get a deal.

Working with trade experts, a new report by Best for Britain sets out the current state of UK and EU negotiations - and shows how far we still are from striking a comprehensive deal. Read the full report here.