During a meeting that was held on Monday, business leaders in the United Kingdom warned Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, that maintaining the frictionless trade with the European Union post-Brexit was probably more important than the imposition of tariffs.
PM May and some top ministers met with some business chiefs that include the bosses of supermarket Tesco, pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline, telecoms firm BT, construction company Balfour Beatty, and carmaker Aston Martin to talk about Brexit.
A source that is familiar with the contents of the said meeting informed Reuters that when asked regarding what has been said to PM May, the business leaders stated: “A frictionless border is probably even more important than the levy or tariff.”
The source added: “Several people around the table said that.” The source disclosed information on a condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the discussions.
To the dismay of most business leaders, PM May has ruled out the idea that the United Kingdom will be staying in a customs union with the European Union. She says that her government is currently working on two possible solutions to minimize the possible delays at the ports and airports of the United Kingdom.
The customs conundrum will define commerce between the United Kingdom and its most prominent trading partner for decades. It is a test of the leadership of PM May as she attempts to pacify the rival factions in her cabinet and her Conservative Party.
The source said that the business leaders were informed that a decision from the ministers was “imminent.”
After the said meeting, the office of PM May said that she and David Davis, the Brexit minister, had given an update regarding the discussions with the European Union and informed the attendees that they planned to set out the future relationship of the United Kingdom with the bloc in a white paper policy document that will be released soon.
In a statement, Downing Street disclosed: “The business representatives expressed their support for this approach, which will build on information provided through the prime minister’s various speeches.”
Liam Fox, the International trade minister, also talked about foreign investment into the United Kingdom with the business leaders. According to the source, one of the attendees remarked that the United Kingdom needed to become predictable again, as it had been in the past, to help in securing further spending.