British Prime Minister Theresa May seeks to calm Brexit fears at business summit

November 21, 2016 10:30 pm

British Prime Minister addresses delegates at the annual Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference in central London, on November 21, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

British Prime Minister Theresa May has tried to soothe the fears of businesses by saying she wants to avoid a “cliff-edge scenario” when her country leaves the European Union (EU).
May made the announcement at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference in London on Monday, saying that the doors would be open to doing with “old allies” in other parts of the world.
She hinted at the prospect of a “transitional deal” which could see retain elements of its current ties with the EU after .
“People don’t want a cliff edge, they want to know how things are going to go forward,” the prime minister said, shortly after business leaders warned her about the impact of an abrupt departure from the 28-nation bloc.
Businesses “want to know with some certainty how things are going to go forward. That will be part of the work we do in terms of the negotiation,” she said.
Paul Drechsler, president of CBI, the UK’s premier business organization, said earlier on Monday, “Businesses are inevitably considering the cliff-edge scenario — a sudden and overnight transformation in trading conditions.”
“If this happens, firms could find themselves stranded in a regulatory no man’s land,” Drechsler said.
A representative from German engineering firm Bosch told AFP, “I’m not too optimistic about Brexit.”
“I don’t see things moving in the right direction,” the representative said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It’s really about making sure that we have a transition in term of regulatory regime,” Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, told the French agency.
According to a recent study, the United Kingdom is likely to lose more than $82 billion (65.5 billion pounds) of investment due to Britain’s shock vote to leave the EU.
The research, released last week, showed that the Brexit referendum of this summer has convinced many British businesses to abandon or delay their investment plans.
The study was based on a research from the British think tank Center for Business and Economics Research (CEBR), Japan’s Hitachi Capital and online pollsters YouGov.
They recently interviewed 1,015 company bosses about investment decisions since the June 23 referendum in which nearly 52 percent of British voters opted to leave the EU, in hopes of taking back control over their borders and having more economic freedom.
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