United Kingdom likely to be SA's biggest foreign direct investor - even after Brexit

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British businesses overwhelmingly want to stick to European rules after Brexit, according to the most detailed sector-by-sector analysis of what companies need the United Kingdom to fight for in negotiations.

Based on "thousands of conversations" with United Kingdom businesses and trade associations, CBI's Smooth Operations report sets out the key "rules that will matter after the transition period", covering 23 sectors of the United Kingdom economy.

Tom Thackray, CBI Innovation Director, said: "This report comes from the heart of British business".

"Put simply, for the majority of businesses, diverging from European Union rules and regulations will make them less globally competitive, and so should only be done where the evidence is clear that the benefits outweigh the costs".

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The EU's chief Brexit negotiator says he will insist on a "non-regression clause" in a future trade deal which ties Britain to the bloc's strict standards after Brexit.

Stephen Hurley, Senior Lawyer and Head of Brexit Planning at BT Group, said: "The current United Kingdom regulatory framework, which is grounded in EU law and ensures an important role for the EU Commission, has worked well for the most part and has been successful in delivering substantial investment and effective competition in the United Kingdom across a wide variety of markets". But as the CBI's latest intervention makes clear, with less than a year to go many key energy and climate-related issues remain unresolved and business leaders are becoming increasingly vocal in their calls for long term clarity.

The French politician also pointed to global agreements, such as the Paris Climate Agreement, fishing management and conservation, and conventions regarding the protection of birds as part of efforts to "strongly mitigate the threats of Brexit to the future of the EU's environment". Those views are supported by the CBI's findings.

A sector-by-sector summary of rules and regulations desired by businesses as part of the CBI's extensive consultation can be found at the start of the report. The EU has also rejected May's approach as cherry-picking.

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It provides an A to Z of the rules that will matter after the transition period.

The two sides should broker mechanisms giving both parties influence over rules and allowing for enforcement of those regulations. "A major acceleration in the partnership between business and the United Kingdom government is needed to make a success of Brexit".

"Reduced UK ambition on air pollution could result in neighbouring states (Ireland, Belgium, France the Netherlands) needing up to 9 percent more effort to reach their clean air objectives - with significant additional costs", he said.

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