Unanswered ‘no deal’ Brexit questions not good enough say Welsh Chambers of Commerce

Heather Myers, CEO of South and Mid Wales Chambers of Commerce. Pic (C) Huw John, Cardiff.

A list of twenty critical questions that remain unanswered for businesses in the unwelcome event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on March 29 is not good enough with just 50 days to go, say the South and Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce and the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) published the list this week (Wednesday 13th February), which highlights the many key issues that are still unclear for businesses in a ‘no deal’ scenario on March 29 – from what trade agreements will be in place with countries around the globe, to whether and how firms can move skilled staff between the UK and EU, and which regulations they will need to follow.

Many of the unanswered questions reflect fundamental aspects of how companies operate. For instance, the terms of trade agreements can affect pricing decisions, margins, even choice of business location and the geography of supply chains.

The absence of clarity and precision has already stifled investment and growth, and is resulting in unnecessary costs, inability to plan and, increasingly, loss of business as customers look elsewhere.

The South and Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce and the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, which represents firms of all sizes and sectors across Wales, along with the British Chambers of Commerce, are demanding answers to these twenty questions.

Heather Myers, CEO, South and Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce, said:
“With just 50 days to go, it is simply not good enough that businesses still don’t have all the answers they need in order to prepare for the ever increasingly likely scenario of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

“Our businesses partner organisations have been hard at work trying their best to ready themselves for our departure from the EU, but the lack of clarity from the Government is keeping them in the dark.

“We will continue to work with Chambers across the UK to ensure that our members have access to all the information they need to ensure a steady as possible transition over the coming months, ensuring their hard-work to create some of our country’s most innovative businesses isn’t stifled by a disorderly departure on March 29th”

Debbie Bryce, Chief Executive Officer at the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce said: “The fact that businesses across the region do not know the trading conditions that they will face in under two months is simply not good enough.

“We have been campaigning with Chambers throughout the UK to help firms prepare as best they can for Brexit but businesses are still lacking answers to critical questions leaving many unable to plan effectively.

“The absolute priority needs to be giving businesses the answers they need and the avoidance of a disorderly Brexit on March 29th.”

Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“In less than 50 days, UK firms could face the biggest change to their terms of trade in over a generation, without the information and clarity they need to navigate their forward course.

“There is a very real risk that a lack of clear, actionable information from government will leave firms, their people and their communities hung out to dry.

“Even those companies trying their hardest to get ready are still in the dark on important matters from contracts through to customs. Many others, who took the decision to wait for the political process to conclude before acting, would face sudden and costly adjustments if a deal is not reached.

“It is little wonder that many firms have been holding back on investment, stockpiling, and even opening offices and moving operations and jobs elsewhere. The imperative remains to avoid a messy and disorderly exit on March 29th, but businesses need answers they can base decisions on, no matter the outcome. The lack of clear, precise answers is now causing real damage to many businesses, and to the wider economy.”