Comment from South and Mid Wales Chamber on Brexit White Paper

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Liz Maher, president of the South and Mid Wales Chambers of Commerce. (C) Huw John, Cardiff.

Commenting on the White Paper published by Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood, Liz Maher, president of the South and Mid Wales Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Since the referendum last June, the South and Mid Wales Chambers of Commerce have been working with both governments to ensure that the voice of the Welsh SME community is heard in the Brexit debate.

“We call on everyone involved in the Brexit process to be constructive regarding this attempt by Welsh politicians to get a consensus over what the best outcome for Wales is. Welsh businesses and their hard working staff deserve that.

“The reality, however, is that despite all the talk we won’t know the final outcome of the negotiations for another two years. In the meantime, our members who are directly affected are being pragmatic and, with our support, are preparing for a range of possible outcomes.

“Whatever the final outcome, Welsh politicians must focus on getting the basics right. Businesses here need the right skills, we need to get on and build much needed infrastructure and we need a business environment where firms can succeed. The South and Mid Wales Chambers of Commerce will keep pushing for these to be delivered.”

On the Single Market:

“Our members that trade internationally are telling us that being members of the Single Market has helped them develop as businesses. Being able to move goods without needing complicated documentation and having to pay tariffs, not having to change products for different European countries as they all have common standards, and being able to easily visit customers all make exporting to the EU a natural progression for companies that want to expand. In fact, many of our top exporters started by exporting to other EU countries and used that experience to successfully expand to other parts of the world.

“Whatever the exact nature of the UK’s trading status with the EU, we must strive for a relationship with as few barriers as possible.”

On immigration:

“If we are not to have restrictions on free movement of people between the UK and the EU post-Brexit a light-touch system is required. Bringing EU nationals into the costly and bureaucratic Home Office work permit process would be a huge regulatory burden for many businesses, especially when their immediate skills shortages at every level remain acute.”