Following a fantastically enjoyable visit to Finland a few weeks ago to discuss the UK Government’s approach to our future trade policy, I have been reflecting on the importance of consistency, certainty and continuity in everything we do in our lives. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, but would I have gone or indeed been comfortable if I had not known where I was staying? Or if I had known that I would have had to pack and move from one night to another?
It is clear to me that although this would have been manageable, it would have by no means been as productive and enjoyable an experience and I probably would not have come away with as fond memories of my time in Helsinki – which I hope will be the first of many visits.
And so it is for businesses. Consistency, certainty and continuity are key to allowing businesses to plan, operate efficiently and focus on the job in hand. And this is why these principles are central to the UK Government’s planning for our future trade policy outside the EU.
We will have a consistent approach based on our long history as an open trading nation. On leaving the EU we will build on our well-established and respected track-record in championing free trade by playing a leading role in the global rules-based multilateral trading system.
The UK Government is committed to seeking continuity in its current trade and investment relationships, including those covered by EU Free Trade Agreements or other EU preferential arrangements. This will avoid disruption for businesses globally, for developing countries and other stakeholders.
There is also a strong commitment to ensure as much certainty as possible. This is why the government has proposed a strictly time-limited implementation period to be agreed between the UK and the EU to allow business and people time to adjust. And this is also why it is so important to begin discussions on the UK’s future deep and special partnership with the EU as soon as possible.
Finland and the UK have a long, strong and consistent history of friendship and trade, both as members of the EU and outside. This will undoubtedly continue. But to make this the most pleasant and productive experience for all our businesses let’s work together to ensure that they have the continuity and certainty they deserve.
Deputy Director of the EU Trade Team in the UK Government’s Department for International Trade. She visited Amcham Finland recently to discuss the ‘Tradeonomics of Brexit.