In what appears to be a major about turn it is being reported that Brussels has conceded and is now prepared to allow Britain to sign trade deals whilst the UK is still within the single market during the transition period, without recourse to Brussels for permission to do so. This represents a slight thaw in Michel Barnier's hard-line attitude towards the UK. The change in stance by Brussels may lead to further compromises enabling British businesses to forge sound deals in advance of Brexit.
As it stands at present UK businesses face an uncertain future, which, whilst it may not be all doom and gloom, without further clarity on how UK/EU trade can be conducted it leaves businesses facing a guessing game as far as strategising for the future is concerned. Teresa May and Boris Johnson breezily speak of "global Britain" with any further definition as to what is actually meant by this. There is a danger that randomly repeating slogans and phrases that appear to come straight from the pen of the PR advisor presents a danger that potential trading partners will perceive Britain as superficial with no substance or plan.
The speed that has been set for the UK's exit leaves little time for devising a measured well thought out strategy to be applied to each complex sector, particularly in light of the stop/start negotiations which appear to be full of arguments. In fact, observers could be forgiven for thinking that the EU negotiators are more focused on inflicting the maximum financial pain on Britain rather than finding a way to continue to facilitate the trade between UK/EU businesses who have been successfully trading with each other across the European borders for decades. It should be obvious that commercial entities from either side of the Channel have little appetite for abandoning years of lucrative business in favour of scoring a political point.
Business leaders would be well advised to take the initiative and lobby the politicians to try harder to avoid throwing away business that currently exists between Britain and the EU. Whilst at the same time, during this time of change, which will almost certainly bring unpredicted opportunities for trade with new markets which have barely been considered or investigated and certainly not pursued with any real vigour. New markets must be viewed carefully from all aspects to eliminate potential risk, ideally the government should be providing a steer in the shape of rudimentary strategies, guidance and diplomatic assistance; in the absence of this, entrepreneurial flair will prevail and no doubt seasoned businessmen and women will forge strong working relationships within a relatively short time span.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.