Brexit industry talks: Deal can and should be made, says CBI boss

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Dame Carolyn will step down as CBI chief in November

A post-Brexit trade deal "can and must be done," said the organization representing British companies ahead of further trade talks between the UK and the EU on Monday.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, the head of the Federation of British Industries, said it was time "the spirit of compromise shines through".

The Brexit transition period, during which the UK complied with EU trade rules, ends on December 31.

Britain and the EU have yet to agree on an agreement that will govern their future trade.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a trade deal with the EU must be concluded by October 15 if it is to be ready for the beginning of 2021.

Nevertheless, the talks ran into problems. There are still important disagreements – on fishing, for example.

The next official round of talks – the ninth since March – begins on September 28th.

The CBI conducted a survey of 648 companies in which only 4% said they would prefer not to reach an agreement on trading.

And half of companies said the effects of dealing with the coronavirus had a negative impact on their preparations for the next year when the transition period ends.

"Next week the Brexit talks will start in the 11th hour," said Dame Carolyn. “Now is the time for political leadership and a spirit of compromise to shine through on both sides. A deal can and must be made.

"Companies are facing a hat-trick of unprecedented challenges: rebuilding after the first wave of Covid-19, managing the virus resurgence and preparing for major changes in the UK's trade relations with the EU."

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Media signatureWhy is it so difficult to get a Brexit deal?

She added, “Good business will provide the best possible foundation as countries recede from the pandemic.

"It would keep UK businesses competitive by minimizing bureaucracy and additional costs, and by saving much-needed time and resources to navigate tough times."

According to Katya Adler, editor of BBC Europe, An EU diplomat said the two sides were 90% there to negotiate technical issues.

The diplomat said the "remaining 10% is political" and "if this cannot be resolved, the 90% is irrelevant".

Every trade agreement aims to remove tariffs and remove other barriers to trade. It will also aim to cover both goods and services.

If the negotiators fail to reach an agreement, the UK has the prospect of trading with the EU according to the basic rules established by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

If the UK has to act under WTO rules, then most goods that UK companies send to the EU will face duties.

This would make British goods more expensive and harder to sell in Europe. The UK could do the same for EU goods if it so wishes.

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