As British diplomats prepare for the latest round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels, an uncertain outcome continues to weigh on the corporate sector, particularly in the U.K.
On Monday, Theresa May repeatedly insisted to an audience of business leaders that her government is trying to build "an economy fit for the future," and she is now publicly stressing how crucial a transition period will be for British business.
But, for many in attendance, it must be slightly shocking that such a conclusion was not reached at the outset of this process, on the very day that Article 50 was triggered.
As the U.K.'s Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) team, led by David Davis, and its European counterpart, led by Michel Barnier, sit across the table from each other, with the British side mustard keen for a transition period starting in March 2019 to be cemented, it is also increasingly clear how worried firms are at this stage about a Brexit cliff-edge. A survey released this week by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) indicated that almost two-thirds of U.K. businesses are planning to trigger contingency plans in the next five months, hoping to avoid major continuity challenges.