IOE&IT director general Marco Forgione yesterday (20 January) told businesses that there are “commercial opportunities” in the new post-transition trade environment but admitted they need to deal with new “complexity”.
Speaking on a Facebook Live panel discussion hosted by Barclays, Forgione called the UK-EU free trade agreement the “most significant deal that has ever been agreed” and said the government had “created an environment for companies to be global”.
He added that the government was on track to achieve its goal of closing trade deals covering 80% of UK trade within three years.
Fellow panellist Russell Antrim, head of EU negotiations at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), agreed that the deal was a “relief” for the UK business community, arguing a no-deal would have led to a “much worse” situation than the disruption currently being faced by some firms.
However, Antrim said that new declaration requirement requirements and the supply chain impacts of the trade agreement’s Rules of Origin chapter were here to stay.
He said new bureaucratic demands were not “teething problems” but were realities that are “here for the long-term”.
Forgione agreed that added trade processes are a new reality but called on businesses to make the most of the “commercial opportunities that go with it”.
He advised that companies that come to terms with the new rules quickly will have a competitive advantage over those that do not.
“Find out what the implications of the deal are for trading either into the EU or the rest of world,” he said. “Put procedures into place quickly as this will remove all of the headache in trading internationally.”
Watch the recording
You can watch a recording of the discussion, which also covered post-transition services trade and data management, on Barclays’ Facebook page.
Forgione and Antrim were joined on the panel by Asli Yildiz, head of legal at the Data and Marketing Association Group (DMA), and Yogesh Dhanak, technical advisory manager at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants UK (ACCA).
The panel was chaired by Ian Workman, managing director of SME business banking at Barclays.