Blog

Blog posts from the Chamber team on Brexit

"EU Nationals & Their Place in Britain"

Chamber members are rightly, focusing attention on the impact that the referendum vote will have on businesses. Yet, at the same time, there is something ugly happening right now in our cities, towns and counties that we must address. That something is affecting people whom many of us call co-workers and friends.

It is racism. It is discrimination. Sadly, it seems to be becoming more prevalent in our society.

Chamber of Commerce members pride themselves on making the places where we do business better.  And now it’s time to put that commitment into action. We must step up, and confront the ugly phenomenon of discrimination that is affecting people in our communities and in our own businesses. 

We have heard about reprehensible verbal and physical attacks targeting people from other parts of the European Union and further afield.  A member of staff at this chamber has experienced it personally.

I am worried about a rising climate of fear. EU nationals in Britain have to contend with this at the same time that they face uncertainty over their future rights to live and work in the UK — something that the chambers of commerce will be working hard to guarantee, in the interests of our businesses and our employees alike. 

We must be clear. Businesses are proud of the contribution that their UK, EU and global employees make - we have always said no to discrimination and we will always say no to discrimination.

So I would encourage you to speak out over the coming weeks — to demonstrate that Chambers of Commerce and their members will not stand for this treatment of our colleagues and friends.

Jenny Stewart, CEO


"Brexit: What does it mean for International Trade?"

The BREXIT dust hasn’t begun to settle yet and the political posturing and re-shuffle saga certainly has months to run, but one thing is certain- once the negotiations are finalised for the UK to leave the EU, we will no longer be part of the single market. This process is estimated to take up to two years but COULD eventually have a number of significant implications for international trade and potentially your business, LIKELY to include:

 

  • A new set of UK Certificates of origin and movement certificates will be required.
  • The new Union Customs Code of 1 May 2016 no longer applying to the UK.
  • A new set of rules of origin to be negotiated.
  • The UK exiting the EU’s electronic and excise management and control system (ECMS).
  • The INTRASTAT regime for customs control becoming not applicable to the UK,
    • This will affect VAT on services carried out in both the UK and in the EU.
  • The UK implementing full customs controls over imported and exported goods.
  • The UK being able to negotiate and conclude free trade agreements with any country it chooses.

 

The actual outcome of all of this is still subject to speculation and is all dependent upon the discussions to be held once notification to leave the EU has officially been submitted from the UK government. Some form of customs clearance process will certainly be required though and an increase in documentation needs.

The above all seems daunting in an environment when we are encouraging UK companies to grasp the opportunity- indeed imperative of trading internationally to stimulate the economic growth and export led recovery that the UK needs. It is for this reason that Liverpool and Sefton Chamber are urging members to stay calm, keep their strategy and wait for clarity to come in the medium term.

In the short term as exporters you may of course benefit from the currency fluctuations and drop in value of sterling.

This is reflected with the stance taken by our national body, the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC). Dr Adam Marshall, BCC Acting Director General, said: "In the wake of the electorate's historic decision to leave the European Union, the immediate priorities for UK business are market stability and political clarity.

Business will also want to see a detailed plan to support the economy during the coming transition period - as confidence, investment, hiring and growth would all be deeply affected by a prolonged period of uncertainty. Businesses need action to maintain economic stability, a timeline for exit, and answers to their many practical, real-world questions about doing business during and after this historic transition.

Our ‘Meet Your Global Network’ event that many of you attended at IFB2016 on 16th July showed just how closely Liverpool and Sefton Chamber work with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The ICC has also urged calm and have stressed that the international challenges remain the same - to promote growth, jobs and investment.

Whilst we must accept that the UK and its trade and investment partners are now operating in a new reality, it is prudent to properly assess the implications for businesses worldwide. ICC are discussing next steps with headquarters in two weeks’ time and will keep us all informed.

We Liverpool and Sefton Chamber of Commerce are very interested in your feedback, concerns and  ideas around international trade post Brexit. We are working in the first instance with our International Strategic Partners but will ultimately consult you all as valued members through our quarterly business breakfast meetings.

If you have any queries or contributions in the interim please do not hesitate to contact international@liverpoolchamber.org.uk

Andy Snell, Director of International Trade & Commercial Services

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