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UK, German Firms Seek Clarity Over Brexit Terms

by Amanda Banks,, London

28 August 2017

British and German business associations are calling for Brexit negotiators to focus on "shared economic interests," ahead of third round talks.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Association of German Chambers of Commerce (DIHK) say they want "political leaders to build an atmosphere of mutual trust and constructive dialogue, to deliver clarity and certainty for trading businesses across Europe."

The BCC said that a number of business-critical areas that form part of the withdrawal agreement are yet to be resolved, including the rights of EU workers in the UK and UK workers in the EU27. Additionally, there are hundreds of practical and technical issues, including customs arrangements and tax procedures, that need to be negotiated as part of the future EU-UK relationship during later stages of the negotiations, it said.

The trade associations said that the issues must be addressed "as soon as possible."

Martin Wansleben, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, said that uncertainty over Brexit led to a three percent year-on-year decline in German exports to the United Kingdom in the first half of this year, against a six percent increase in German exports to the EU27.

According to a DIHK survey, the business outlook of companies that are engaged in trade with the United Kingdom is worsening, due to expectations that cost burdens will increase due to limits on free movement of workers, to taxes and tariffs and increasing bureaucratic hurdles at the border.

An earlier survey by the BCC found that 68 percent of business are seeking a transition period of at least three years to adapt to any changes.

The United Kingdom is the third-largest market for German goods exports. Germany is the UK's second-largest goods and services exports destination.

Earlier this month, Slovenia's Prime Minister Miro Cerar said that it will take longer than originally anticipated to reach the stage in Brexit negotiations where the EU is convinced that satisfactory progress has been made to enable trade talks to begin.

He said that the EU27 must unanimously agree that sufficient progress has been made in the three areas identified as priorities for the first part of negotiations, before discussions can turn to the issue of the UK's future relationship with the bloc. These areas are: citizens' rights, the settlement of financial commitments made by the UK while still a member of the EU, and the situation in Northern Ireland/Ireland.

TAGS: individuals | tax | business | European Commission | law | United Kingdom | Germany | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe

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