UK and EU told to ‘engage in pragmatic solution’ to Brexit row to avoid damaging trade war

UK 'needs to minimise friction with EU' says Rake

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Sir Mike Rake, former director of the Confederation of British Industry, told LBC that it is imperative the British Government “minimise the frictional costs” of Brexit. He said politicians must improve “productivity and encourage investment” with long-term policies, adding that in times of “severe uncertainty and difficulty”, a long-term strategy was essential. 

Sir Mike said: “I really think it’s time the Government, the political parties, align on some long-term policies that really do improve our productivity and encourage investment. 

“And try to minimise the friction that’s going on with the European Union. This is not the time to be embarking on trade wars. 

“This is the time to establish trust and try to engage in pragmatic solutions that minimise the frictional costs of us having left the European Union, both from our point of view and the European point of view, and actually from a global point of view as well. 

“This includes concerns about our friends and allies across the world, about what’s happening in Ireland. 

“So, I do think there are some things we can do for the long term whilst really trying to look after our people in the short term. 

“But we need to get away from some of the political ideology and we need to be much more pragmatic and provide a little more of a long-term strategy. 

“I think we’re suffering from a huge reduction in trade, 19 percent down, we’ve got higher inflation than our continental colleagues. 

“We’ve got lower growth than anyone in the G7. We’ve got to have a strategy now that is longer-term to move out of this period of really severe uncertainty and difficulty.” 

It comes as business leaders told a bipartisan US delegation today that the UK Government and the EU will both have to compromise to sort out difficulties with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The US group, led by Congressman Richard Neal, met a number of business organisations in the final engagement in their fact-finding trip to Ireland to discuss issues around the post-Brexit trading arrangements.

UK foreign secretary Liz Truss recently announced an intention to introduce legislation to override some elements of the protocol, but has stated that her preferred outcome is a negotiated agreement with the EU.

Business leaders told members of the influential House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means on Friday that the UK and EU should sit down in a room together with representatives from Northern Ireland to resolve the current trading difficulties.

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Speaking after the meeting, Seamus Leheny, policy manager at Logistics UK, said: “We basically told them that the UK and the EU both have to move on this. It is a negotiation.

“Full implementation of the protocol isn’t practical, it won’t work.

“We are working on a basis of partial protocol implementation at the moment. That has proven problematic for some supply chains.

“It was made clear to them some areas where the protocol is good, where it is beneficial. For our manufacturers and exporters, things are very good.

“But for the retail goods coming into Northern Ireland, that is where the difficulties lie.”

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