Sheffield Chamber comments on Brexit agreement

Commenting on the announcement from the Prime Minister that the Cabinet has backed the draft Withdrawal Agreement and the political declaration on the future relationship between the UK and the EU27, Richard Wright, Director of Policy and Representation at Sheffield Chamber, said:

“It is important that business separates the withdrawal agreement (which is what was presented to parliament yesterday) from a trade deal which will replace the way we trade with Europe now. The withdrawal agreement effectively gets us out of Europe under the terms of Article 50 and we enter a transition period during which a trade deal will be negotiated. It is the latter which is probably more important for business.

“The BCC is right to advise a period of reflection whilst we fully absorb the contents of the withdrawal proposal and assess what its implications might be to the future trade deal. This is too important to give knee jerk, uninformed opinions. Business wants as free a trade environment between the whole of the UK and Europe as possible, whilst ensuring we can negotiate our own deals with other (and increasingly larger) markets. The future of the UK will be defined by how we deal with the world and not just Europe, important as that is, and we will assess the proposal in that context.

“It is important that we recognise that the rules on how we trade with other countries (whether they be Europe or the rest of the World) are already changing to meet new requirements coming from the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and World Trade Organisation (WTO). WCO and WTO are making these changes to combat things like terrorism, money laundering and nuclear proliferation. Some of our older trade documents and practices will be superseded whether we leave Europe or not and we need to understand the implications of those as well, and properly separate them from the inevitable arguments that will arise because of Brexit.”