26 February 2018

  |  CBI Press Team

Press release

'Comprehensive customs union with the EU a 'real world' solution'

Carolyn Fairbairn welcomes the Labour Party’s backing for a comprehensive customs union with the EU.

'Comprehensive customs union with the EU a 'real world' solution'

A comprehensive customs union is a ‘real world’ solution that has been called for by the CBI and thousands of trading businesses of all sizes and sectors across the UK.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

“The Labour leader’s commitment to a customs union will put jobs and living standards first by remaining in a close economic relationship with the EU. It will help grow trade without accepting freedom of movement or payments to the EU.

“Growing trade is not an ‘either or’ question – Germany already exports five times as much with China as the UK from within the customs union. Many thousands of ambitious UK firms are looking to break into new markets. These companies need Government to focus on making access to markets simpler, not putting up barriers to our most important trading partner.

“Importantly, a customs union will go part of the way to providing a real-world solution to the Irish border question that is of such urgent concern to the people and firms of Northern Ireland.

“This evidence cannot be ignored. To do so would create barriers where there are none, risking prosperity and future living standards.

“But businesses have their eyes wide open on Labour’s overall rhetoric on re-nationalisation. If Labour turns its back on good collaboration between the Government and the private sector - putting vital sectors solely in the hands of politicians - public services, infrastructure and taxpayers will ultimately pay the price. The CBI will continue to engage with the Labour Party to find better solutions to the shared challenges we face.”