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CBI calls on government to get post-Brexit regulations right

Ensuring the UK gets rules and regulations right is key to a thriving economy, and convergence with the digital single market is critical for tech companies, according to the CBI

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has highlighted the importance of getting the country’s regulations right post-Brexit.

The CBI’s report, entitled Smooth operations, which looks at what changes to EU rules could mean for different industries, said it’s crucial to get it right as if “negotiators get it wrong on rules, the consequences will be far-reaching”, and could affect every single industry.

Prime minister Theresa May has already committed to quitting the digital single market, however, particularly for the UK’s tech sector, it is critical for the country to continue being able to shape regulations on the digital single market, ensuring the interests and needs of British businesses and consumers.

“In the negotiation of the new relationship, both sides should look to set a new international precedent in the trade of services and digital products. The industries of the future will be cross-border, and alignment globally and regionally will be essential,” it said.

“And consumers on both sides are best served by greater choice in everything from content on Netflix to broadband providers.

“Both sides must therefore build on the progress of the digital single market and negotiate enough continued alignment in those areas to keep the European creative and technology ecosystem thriving.”

Another issue brought to light by May’s decision to leave the digital single market is the possibility of bringing back roaming charges. Abolishing them was one of the key objectives of the single market, and in June 2017, the EU abolished mobile tariff surcharges for customers using their mobiles abroad. However, there is currently no clarity on whether this will continue in the UK post-Brexit.

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The CBI report said British businesses “require continued convergence on rules on roaming to avoid costs rising for consumers”. It has also previously advocated for an agreement on the exchange of data between the EU and the UK after Brexit to ensure the £240bn data economy isn’t disrupted.

The report said that securing a free flow of data is significant for every single sector across the UK economy.

“It is crucial that an ‘adequacy decision’ is obtained for the UK’s data regime to maintain uninhibited data flows between the UK and Europe. An adequacy decision also unlocks data flows for crucial trading partners such as the US and Canada,” it said.

CBI’s innovation director, Tom Thackray, said that the tech and creative sectors in particular are a mix of “home-grown entrepreneurial talent” and international business, and it’s important it stays that way.

“The tech economy is creating jobs twice as fast as the rest of the economy and spurring jobs and investment across the UK, so a close relationship between UK and EU rules in the technology and creative sectors will be necessary after Brexit to support truly global industries,” he said.

“British and European consumers and businesses both stand to benefit from getting it right on technology rules.”

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