CBI calls for post-Brexit digital convergence

The CBI has said that post-Brexit convergence with the digital single market is critical for the tech sector.

The call comes in a new report, Smooth Operations, which is based on thousands of conversations with UK businesses, as well as dozens of trade associations, and provides an A to Z of the rules that will matter after the transition period.

The CBI study, compiled over a six-month period, says the Brexit deal should set a new international precedent for liberalising trade in services and digital products. That’s despite Prime Minister Theresa May already committing to exiting the digital single market.

The report says the industries of the future will be cross-border, and alignment globally and regionally will be essential. And consumers on both sides are best served by greater choice in everything from content on Netflix to broadband providers. Both sides must therefore build on the progress of the Digital Single Market and negotiate enough continued alignment in those area to keep the European creative and technology eco-system thriving.

Smooth Operations also suggests that an adequacy agreement and continued alignment with the rules that support it is critical to securing cross-border data flows which underpin modern economic activity. Additionally, it says it is critical the UK continued to shape forthcoming EU rules for technology companies to reflect the needs of UK businesses and consumers.


Informing good decisions

Introducing the report, Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “This report comes from the heart of British business. It provides unparalleled evidence to inform good decisions that will protect jobs, investment and living standards across the UK.

“The experience of companies across the country will be essential in the months ahead. A major acceleration in the partnership between business and the UK Government is needed to make a success of Brexit and to ensure this experience is heard.

“It’s vitally important that negotiators understand the complexity of rules and the effects that even the smallest of changes can have. Deviation from rules in one sector will have a knock-on effect on businesses in others, and divergence from rules in one part of a production process will have consequences for market access throughout entire supply chains.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of the decisions that will be taken over the next six months. Put simply, for the majority of businesses, diverging from EU rules and regulations will make them less globally competitive, and so should only be done where the evidence is clear that the benefits outweigh the costs.”

The full report can be read here.

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