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Melissa Porter | 11 April, 2018, 18:16

The organisation's Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn says the task of unpicking 40 years" economic and regulatory integration is complex and colossal, adding that the new report, called "Smooth Operations' is based on thousands of conversations with United Kingdom businesses, as well as dozens of leading trade associations.

"The task of unpicking 40 years of economic and regulatory integration is complex and colossal", CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn warns at the launch of a new CBI report on European Union rules that matter for the United Kingdom economy.

In a bid to restore Brexit back to the heart of the national debate, the CBI published a heavyweight paper this week outlining what a future EU-UK relationship should look like in key sectors of the economy, including energy.

Smooth Operations is based on thousands of conversations with United Kingdom businesses, as well as dozens of leading trade associations, and provides an A to Z of the rules that will matter after the transition period.

The report covers 23 sectors including life sciences and creative industries, in which the East of England is said to have particular strength.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says a future trade deal should bind the United Kingdom to EU standards permanently.

Fairbairn said: "This report comes from the heart of British business". It provides unparalleled evidence to inform good decisions that will protect jobs, investment and living standards across the UK.

Moreover, it finds that changes to rules in one sector could have significant knock-on effects for companies in other sectors and throughout supply chains.

The EU's chief negotiator told the European Parliament in Brussels that any future deal must include "precise provisions" to maintain a level playing field, especially when it comes to environmental standards, so that the United Kingdom can not change its mind in order to undercut its future trade rival.

However, the CBI warned that a sector-by-sector approach to rules posed risks as sectors don't operate in isolation. "A major acceleration in the partnership between business and the United Kingdom government is needed to make a success of Brexit".

You don't have to buy Russian conspiracy theories, which paint last month's nerve agent attack as a cynical United Kingdom government ploy to divert attention away from Brexit, to see that the focus of public debate has shifted since it took place.