The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has used its Our Global Future report to assess how businesses will fare if it modelled its post-Brexit future on Norway’s relationship with the EU.
Britain is now almost half a year away from officially leaving the EU and as such, government ministers are preparing the necessary trade arrangements in preparation for the 29th March 2019.
As things stand, with no agreements in place, no-deal is the only option – something that the CBI has made clear would hit British businesses like a “sledgehammer.”
The report, which looks at what Britain’s place in the global economy should be in the 21st century, sets out the pros and cons of EU membership, as well as the reforms that companies want to see.
In its chapter regarding the alternatives to EU membership, the report takes a closer look at the ‘Norway option’ and what it would do for businesses.
If the UK is to model itself on Norway’s relationship with the EU, the country would be part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA), meaning that businesses would have access to the single market.
As with any renegotiation though, in any area where the UK has access, new EU rules would have to be implemented into UK law, which itself will take time.
The research from the CBI also reveals that EFTA countries still contribute to the EU budget – with Norway the 10th highest contributor to the EU – so the UK would be required to still make payments to the European Union.
The UK government would be able to, however, strike their own trade deals with other countries; negotiations would have to start from scratch too, which poses its own challenges.
Plans have been outlined for a future British-Norwegian economic partnership by the Ambassador to Norway; it remains to be seen whether or not the UK will follow the example of their Nordic partners when forging a new relationship with the EU.