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East Midlands Chamber News

Delivering Brexit message to the heart of Parliament

WestminsterAs part of its campaign to make sure the needs of business drive the UK’s Brexit negotiations, East Midlands Chamber is leading a deputation to deliver the message to the heart of Parliament.

About eight regional businesses, particularly those importing from or exporting to the EU, will be joining the Chamber at Westminster for a round-table discussion with MPs to talk about their fears for trading post-Brexit.

Philip Rycroft, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union, is due to take part in the discussion, which is being hosted by Alex Norris Labour MP for Nottingham North. Chris Leslie, Labour MP for Nottingham East, was the sponsor for the Westminster visit.

With little progress being made in Brexit talks, businesses are becoming increasingly concerned about the possibility that tariffs could be imposed on imports and exports, which could drive up the cost of UK-made goods sold in the EU and make Britain less competitive.

The export of goods from the East Midlands to the EU was worth £17.7bn in 2016.

The companies joining the deputation on Thursday 23 November include some of the most prolific exporters from the East Midlands and will provide strong cross-sector input to the debate.

Others taking part in the Westminster visit include members of the Chamber’s International Trade Steering Group and national business award nominees in the international trade category.

Chris HobsonChris Hobson, Director of Policy at East Midlands Chamber, said: “We’re 17 months on from the Brexit vote, eight months on from Mrs May invoking Article 50 to trigger the UK’s exit from the EU and with just 16 months left before we hit the two-year deadline to secure a deal absolutely nothing has been agreed.

“The EU wants to talk only about how much money the UK will pay. The UK wants to talk about trade agreements, citizens’ rights, the customs union and other important things and is looking at potential trade deals with non-EU countries.

“Business wants guidance on what trading conditions will be like after 29 March 2019, whether they will still be able to supply EU countries without being hit by World Trade Organisation-prescribed tariffs and whether they’ll still be able to buy raw materials from EU sources tariff-free.

“They need to know whether the EU’s negative stance is going to lead to them being chucked out of EU-based firms’ supply chains or whether they will need to establish new supply chains for their own manufacturing processes and whether they will still be able to ship goods freely through the customs union.

“It’s essential that our MPs get behind business and help them deliver this message to the Ministers trying to secure future trade agreements with the EU, or at the very least a transition period to allow final negotiations to continue beyond next March.”

As a member of the EU, the UK enjoys EU-agreed trade agreements with over 60 countries. After Brexit, the UK’s trade with those countries will be subject to WTO rules unless other agreements can be secured.

Chamber representatives at the event will include Chris, Chief Executive Scott Knowles, Head of International Trade Laura Howard and Business Adviser Giles Jones. Ronan Quigley, Executive Director, Corporate Services will be speaking on behalf of British Chambers of Commerce at the event.

Companies already signed up for the deputation include Flexfab Europe, Global Brands, JA Kapasi, Joseph Clayton and Sons, Lemonpath, Marpak, Mills and Reeve, Morningside Pharmaceuticals, RSM and Toyota Manufacturing UK.

The round-table discussion is due to start at 1.30pm and last for 90 minutes in Room P, Portcullis House, Westminster, and will enable attendees to identify to MPs and any Ministers who attend the barriers to trade they fear could make continuing to export to the EU unsustainable.