Canadian trade model not right for Britain, says CBI

A comprehensive customs union would provide a “practical, real-world answer” after Britain leaves the EU in 2019, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said.
The CBI, which represents around 190,000 businesses across the UK, said complex issues would arise without a defined border.
Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the CBI, said “2018 must be a year of hard choices, based on evidence not ideology”.
In a speech today (22/01/18), Ms Fairbairn will say businesses urgently need decision to protect UK jobs and growth, achieved through “clarity, flexibility, and urgency”.
She will ask the UK Government for a “jobs-first” transition deal to be implemented within 70 days.
The Director-General will also outline the drawbacks to proposed plans, which include similarities to both the Canada and Norway models of trade.
She will say the Canada model “is an ocean away from what we need. We can’t afford higher barriers to trade, and nor can the EU.”
“A Canadian model delivers control over immigration, some regulation and trade policy,” she will say.
“But it won’t work for the UK, or the EU, as the Canadian deal was built around a premise of taking two countries wide apart – in geography, standards and trade – and bringing them closer together.
“Canada does less than 10 per cent of its trade with the EU, whereas the EU is our largest trading partner. We can’t afford higher barriers to trade. Nor can the EU.
“Currently, to trade with the EU, many UK businesses need only complete a simple form.
“But with a Canada-style agreement UK firms would face customs declarations, which means filling out a 12-page form for each batch of goods sent to customers.
“Every consignment will also need a VAT registration and certificates of origin, declaring how much of each product has been made where.
“The Canada-deal rules of origin are as long as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe – and a lot less fun to read.
“A good customs union, built on lessons learnt from others, is best for jobs, wages and living standards after the transition period ends,” she will add.

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