We are approaching 'critical first part of the negotiation phase' - EY comments on Brexit whitepaper

2 February 2017

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Mats Persson, EY’s head of international trade, comments: “It’s now political fact that the UK intends to leave the single market and the EU external tariff, and so businesses should plan accordingly.

“It is vital that the Government pushes all possible measures to keep disruption to trade to a minimum. We therefore welcome the Government’s ambition to negotiate transition arrangements, tailored for individual sectors. This is something that businesses across the economy would benefit from, particularly those involved in integrated supply chains or that have heavy dependencies on exports to Europe.

“We now approach the critical first part of the negotiation phase, where the negotiation process and sequencing will need to be decided. The EU and the UK must avoid a catch 22 situation. The EU is seeking to settle the divorce settlement and then the new trade arrangement at a later date, whereas the UK is seeking to negotiate both in parallel. The biggest risk is that negotiations get stuck early on around this point. Both parties must show pragmatism.”