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East Midlands Chamber News

Brexit message delivered to the heart of Westminster

Round-table event at WestminsterAs part of its campaign to make sure the needs of business drive the UK’s Brexit negotiations, the Chamber delivered the message to the heart of Parliament today.

A number of regional businesses joined the Chamber at Westminster for a round-table discussion with MPs to talk about their fears for trade post-Brexit.

Philip Rycroft, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union, took part in the discussion, which was hosted by Alex Norris Labour MP for Nottingham North. Chris Leslie, Labour MP for Nottingham East, was the sponsor for the visit but was unable to attend.

With little progress apparently 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.

Matters discussed included the importance of a transitional period between the leaving date in March 2019 and the UK’s eventual withdrawal from the EU and that businesses will have to soon to make detailed plans for Brexit.

The companies joining the deputation today, Thursday 23 November, included some of the most prolific exporters from the East Midlands, the Chamber’s International Trade Steering Group and national business award nominees in the international trade category - providing strong cross-sector input to the Brexit debate.

Chris Hobson, Director of Policy at the 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.

“Businesses need to start looking at the granularity of Brexit and want guidance on what trading conditions will be like after 29 March 2019. 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 MPs get behind business and help to deliver this message to the Ministers trying to secure future trade agreements with the EU.”

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

The round-table discussion took place in Portcullis House, Westminster.

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