The UK services sector is a great British success story. This paper sets out the 5 steps for negotiators to protect services trade through Brexit.

Accounting for 80% of the UK’s GDP and 4 in 5 jobs across the country, the UK is the world’s second largest exporter of services. UK services are in demand all over the world, but the EU is the single largest destination for them – worth £90 billion annually to the UK economy – with hundreds of thousands of jobs of companies and individuals benefitting from the services UK firms provide on both sides of the Channel.

As negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU progress to the next phase, attention is turning to the real prize: the future relationship between the world’s 5th largest economy and the European Union. Getting the right deal for services trade will be critical to the success of this new relationship. But the trade in services is complex and will require an agreement of unprecedented depth to ensure trade between the UK and the EU remains as frictionless as possible.

Based on consultation with CBI members across sectors, this paper sets out 5 steps negotiators will need to take to protect the trade in services post-Brexit, focusing on the specific solutions service businesses are highlighting. The 5 steps include removing cliff edge risks by urgently agreeing transitional arrangements, ensuring services businesses can continue to access the talent they need and move workers across the Channel, maintaining the free flow of data, securing mutual market access and ensuring continued regulatory cooperation between the UK and EU.