Reacting to the European Council’s agreement to start preparations for trade talks between the EU and the UK, ADS said progress towards the second phase of negotiations was welcome.

However, businesses need to be given certainty as soon as possible on important issues, including the transition arrangements.

ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said:

“The President of the European Council’s announcement that internal preparations will start for the second phase of negotiations is welcome, but there is now relatively little time to reach agreement on important issues.

“The Prime Minister made an important proposal in Florence on the implementation period. I hope that both sides seek a firm agreement as soon as possible that gives businesses a smooth and orderly one-step transition.

“Both the UK and the EU must put people and prosperity at the heart of negotiations. Achieving an ambitious and comprehensive deal will require compromise on both sides, and industry stands ready to help formulate the detailed plans that will be required.”