Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC, said: ‘As Brexit talks continue, it’s clear that companies in the UK and on the continent all want economic issues to rise to the top of the negotiations agenda
German business leaders have issued a plea to the European Union to begin work on a trade deal with Britain as they enter the next round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels today.
The EU has repeatedly said talks on a trade agreement cannot begin until ‘sufficient progress’ is made on the divorce bill, the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and Northern Ireland.
But last night they were under increasing pressure to compromise as the influential Association of German Chambers of Commerce (DIHK) warned it was important for businesses on both sides of the Channel for them to start looking at the future arrangements.
In a joint intervention with the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the group warned that trade would suffer without clarity.
Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC, said: ‘As Brexit talks continue, it’s clear that companies in the UK and on the continent all want economic issues to rise to the top of the negotiations agenda.
‘There is real business appetite from both sides for a focus on practical, day-to-day business concerns, and a desire for clarity on future trading arrangements.
‘The UK and the EU must begin work on transitional arrangements, particularly on customs, so that firms on both sides of the Channel have the confidence to make investment decisions.
‘Chambers of commerce in the UK and in Germany want to see thriving trade continue between our firms, both now and into the future. Politicians must do everything in their power to help this happen.’
Martin Wansleben, chief executive of the DIHK, said: ‘The first effects of the Brexit vote are already being observed: German exports to the United Kingdom were down by three per cent in the first half of this year compared to the first half of last year.
‘A transitional period would be helpful for business, but it is important to businesses on both sides that the contours of a future trading relationship are becoming clearer over the next months.’
Brexit Secretary David Davis will today say: ‘We want to agree a deal that works in the best interests of both the EU and the UK, and people and businesses right across Europe’
Brexit Secretary David Davis will today urge the EU to get down to work as he arrives in Brussels for the third round of negotiations with a call for more ‘flexibility and imagination’.
He will say: ‘We want to agree a deal that works in the best interests of both the EU and the UK, and people and businesses right across Europe.
‘And we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get down to work once more.’
This week’s round of negotiations will concentrate on the rights of EU citizens living in Britain after Brexit and Britons in the EU, as the two sides are in a deadlock over the divorce bill.
The European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has warned that Britain must be ready to set out what it is willing to pay today.
But Mr Davis will snub his request and refuse further discussions on the demand, which is thought to be for around 80 billion euros (£74billion), until they show the legal justification for their claim.