Keeping up appearances

This report from UK think tank the Centre for European Reform looks at what now for UK services trade.

The UK is a services superpower. But its decision to leave the EU’s single market jeopardises its position as a hub for multinational services firms to sell to clients across Europe. Policy-makers in London should take steps to ensure that the slow trickle of business moving to the EU does not become a flood, argues Sam Lowe in a new Centre for European Reform policy brief. The author examines the opportunities available to UK services providers and demonstrates that free trade agreements will only play a small part in the future international activity of British services firms. He recommends that the UK concentrate its efforts on investment, both outwards and inwards, and on shoring up its position as an attractive location for global services firms to base themselves. In practice this involves the UK: « creating a stable policy environment, both unilaterally and via binding treaty commitments; « retaining access to a large pool of skilled workers via liberalisation of its immigration regime and the removal of visa application fees; « ensuring continued preferential access to the EU market, where possible; « trying to reduce the risk of restrictions on the cross-border flow of data; and « engaging in targeted regulatory diplomacy to unlock new opportunities for British companies abroad.


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