May gets down to business on Brexit

| Updated: March 04, 2018 14:00:06

Picture used for representational purpose only. Reuters/File Photo Picture used for representational purpose only. Reuters/File Photo

Theresa May's speech was another key milestone in the Brexit process and for once business leaders did not leave totally disappointed.

What business will most appreciate is that this was not a complacent speech.

It acknowledged the scale and complexity of the task in hand and made some pragmatic concessions to the realities of trade with the EU.

Most of those concessions will please the business community, but some may not satisfy members of her party.

Perhaps the most eye-catching passage for business was the prime minister's indication that the UK would be prepared to pay to remain a member of some European regulatory agencies, such as the European Medicines Agency or the European Aviation Safety Authority.

As the regulations change, the UK parliament could choose to enact an identical law - or not - but failing to do so would be in the knowledge that it might affect our membership of the agency.

So parliament remains sovereign but in practice would probably not use that sovereignty in case we got booted out of the agency. That will sound suspiciously like rule taking to some Brexit firebrands.

She also accepted that on goods regulations, UK standards would have to be at least as high as the EU's - so, no bonfire of regulation that frankly no one in the business world wanted anyway, reports BBC.

On services, which accounts for about three quarters of the UK economy, she conceded that services had never been included in any meaningful way in previous deals and this accepted this part would be tough.

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