By Andrew MacAskill
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will attempt to reassure nervous business leaders that it appreciates the need for clarity on rules outside of the European Union by setting up a task force to discuss challenges 50 days before the transition period ends.
The United Kingdom left the EU in January, but the sides are trying to clinch a deal that would govern nearly 1 trillion dollars in annual trade before the status quo transitional arrangements end on Dec. 31.
Outside the EU’s single market where trade flows freely, Britain’s exporters will have to complete a raft of paperwork including customs and safety declarations and deal with multiple IT systems to gain entry to Europe.
Companies will have to complete paperwork and submit goods for random checks to cross borders, increasing both the cost and time it takes to do business.
With its first meeting taking place virtually on Thursday, the new task force involving businesses and senior ministers will meet each week into next year.
“We recognise that this is a challenging time for everyone, and we are determined to support businesses to be ready,” Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said. “The new Brexit Business Task Force will be an important forum for frequent dialogue and problem solving.”
Each meeting will focus on a specific sector. Relevant companies and major business lobby groups will be invited.
EU and UK sources have told Reuters that negotiations were expected to run through the end of this week, missing their mid-November deadline for a new Brexit deal.
Fishing quotas, fair competition for companies in areas such as state aid, and how to settle future disputes are the main sticking points that have so far barred an agreement.