LONDON, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Britain must carve out a new global trading role for itself as part of a new, rapidly-changing European Union (EU), John Cridland, director-general of the Conferderation of British Industry (CBI), urged on Monday.
In his New Year message, the business lobbying organization leader outlined the importance of securing a ground-breaking EU-U.S. free trade agreement to generate long-term British growth and boost the flat domestic economy.
While stressing the importance of developing trade with the United States and the EU, Cridland also called for continuing efforts in driving forward ongoing EU trade talks with India, Japan and rapidly growing economies.
In his message, he said a historic U.S. deal is vital to creating long-term, sustainable economic growth and job creation in Britain and the EU. It would eliminate tariffs, liberalize goods and services, harmonize regulation, promote investment and set benchmark standards for trade in the 21st century.
Britain could not afford to "miss out on opportunities to use the EU to help rebalance the economy towards exports and create new trade deals based on its world-class reputation - in particular in financial and professional services; pharmaceuticals; and creative industries."
The message comes as the CBI kickstarts a major project in the New Year to flesh out how the UK's global role should look in a new Europe. It will examine how the UK can remain a leading location to do business globally - expanding export markets particularly for high-growth small and medium-sized firms, without losing access to the Single Market. It will report in mid-2013.
"We need to recognize and adapt to the realities of the multi-speed Europe which is emerging. The fallout in the eurozone from the debt crisis is not just forcing through rapid political and financial integration. It is also forcing all countries to fundamentally rethink the EU's wider purpose and deal urgently with the sort of structural flaws Europe has ignored for decadesn," Cridland said.
"We need global trade deals to drive growth and create jobs, especially when the domestic economy is growing more slowly than required. Businesses don't want the baby thrown out with the bathwater - not with 50 percent of our exports heading to Europe."