More than 70 UK business groups, representing more than 7 million workers, have made one final attempt to convince politicians to return to the table next week to conclude an EU-UK trade deal.
Companies across the UK in the automotive, aerospace, chemical, agriculture, pharmaceutical, technology and financial services sectors have come together to urge both sides to find a compromise on trading terms.
Chiefs were alarmed by Boris Johnson's move to end talks with EU negotiators on Friday, and fear that what they see as the clear need for a deal to protect jobs and investments will be sacrificed for political reasons.
The groups – from the CBI, TheCityUK and TechUK to the National Farmers' Union, the British Retail Consortium and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – said that securing a swift deal “is of great importance to jobs and livelihoods ".
In a statement they said: “With compromise and tenacity, a deal can be made. Companies urge executives on both sides to find a way. "
With every day that goes by, business resilience deteriorates
Executives have warned that many companies are not prepared for the disruption, bureaucratic hassle and costs of dealing with EU counterparts over the next year.
Smaller businesses in particular are struggling to prepare for a no-deal outcome in order to weather the economic downturn caused by Covid-19.
An Institute of Directors poll of members this week found that nearly a quarter of companies may not be ready for the transition period to end. Almost half said they were not fully prepared.
The group of trade organizations, which represents around 190,000 companies, said an ambitious deal would have an immediate impact on efforts to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period in December.
“It will support investment by removing the threat of tariffs and quotas. And it will catalyze trust through increased customs collaboration while also enabling a valuable data deal that is vital to the service industry, which makes up 80 percent of the UK economy. "
In regions and areas such as the North East, the Humber Bank and North West England, as well as central Scotland and South Wales, the chemical sector is vital to the local economy
More than three quarters of British firms say they need a deal quickly, according to the groups.
"With every day that goes by, business resilience deteriorates."
"It is absolutely clear that it is in the interests of no one – and certainly not patients – to face the future with uncertainty about how drugs are regulated, tested and moved across Europe and the UK," said Richard Torbett, CEO of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
Paul Everitt, managing director of ADS, warned that without a deal, the UK aerospace, defense, space and security industries would face major disruptions "due to delays in cross-border trade, costly administrative requirements and a new regulatory system".
He added, "Companies in our sectors are facing survival every day from the Covid-19 crisis that has put 30,000 aerospace jobs at risk."
Steve Elliott, executive director of the Chemical Industries Association, which represents companies responsible for half a million jobs, said the industry needs a deal.
"In regions and areas such as the North East, the Humber Bank and North West of England, and central Scotland and South Wales, the chemical sector is vital to the local economy because it is highly skilled, productive and well rewarded with jobs."
Terry Jones, Director General of the NFU of England and Wales, said: “The EU, as a single trading bloc, is, and will continue to be in the future given its size and proximity, the main international market for UK agri-food products. For this reason, it is vital that a duty-free, quota-free agreement is concluded as soon as possible. "