More than 70 British business organizations are calling on policymakers to continue negotiations on a British-EU free trade agreement, the Financial Times reports.
On Friday The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson called on the European Union to prepare for the absence of a free trade agreement. Britain and the EU are still negotiating what kind of relationship they will have after the turn of the year, when the brexit transition period expires.
Johnson’s warning has gotten at least British business on its toes. According to the Financial Times representatives of the business community have made a last-minute appeal for the parties to reach an agreement on a free trade agreement.
According to the newspaper, more than 70 British business organizations are urging politicians to return to the negotiating table and reach an agreement. The organizations employ more than seven million people and represent companies in the automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical and technology industries, for example.
“With compromise and perseverance, the deal can be made. Companies are asking policymakers on both sides to find a common path, ”the petition says, according to the Financial Times.
Business management has warned that British companies are not sufficiently prepared for the trade disruptions and administrative costs caused by the end of the transition period. Small businesses in particular are having difficulty preparing, while at the same time struggling to cope with the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Institute of Directors, an organization representing British leaders and entrepreneurs, published a survey on Friday that found that just over a fifth of business leaders estimated their organization to be well prepared for the end of the transition. More than half of the respondents felt that the pandemic would exacerbate the negative effects of the end of the transition period.
Britannian one of the key ministers Michael Gove estimates on Sunday that the likelihood of a free trade agreement has fallen. Like Prime Minister Johnson, he continued to blame the EU.
Gove told Sky News that both sides should make compromises to reach an agreement, but “the EU is not doing so at the moment”. Gove was also asked whether he would become the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnierin to arrive in London next week, to which Gove replied that “he now has the ball”.
The timetable for reaching an agreement is very tight. It is estimated that an agreement should be reached by the end of October at the latest so that it can enter into force before the turn of the year.
Britannian and EU relations were discussed on Thursday at the EU summit. Its conclusions state that Barnier will continue negotiations in the “coming weeks”.
“We are asking Britain to move its position so that an agreement is reached,” the leaders said in a summary.
Chief negotiator for Britain David Frost described Thursday’s summit as “disappointing”.