Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday triggered Article 50 and, in turn, the countdown to the UK’s departure from the EU.
Britain now has two years to start replacing reams of EU law with a domestic equivalent and work out its future ties to the continent.
Ahead of the signing of the Article 50 letter, the Confederation of British Industry explained what businesses want from UK-EU negotiations going forward.
Josh Hardie, CBI deputy director-general, said: “Firstly, we want to see certainty for EU workers here and UK citizens overseas.
“Secondly, discussing new trading arrangements should go hand-in-hand with negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU.
“And we need both sides to commit to interim arrangements if a deal is not possible inside two years.
“Above all, UK companies need to know as soon as possible about the UK’s future trading relationships. That’s why the next six months are crucial.”
The CBI has warned of the dangers of a ‘no deal’ scenario, which would open a Pandora’s Box of economic consequences for UK businesses, leading to higher costs and delays affecting jobs and pay.