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Keeping you up-to-date with the latest political policies and decisions that affect South West businesses

Were the fears of a meltdown after 23 June realised?

Insight spoke to Business West’s Director of Policy, Matt Griffith for his thoughts on Brexit.

“The majority of concerns about the economic consequences of Brexit outlined before the referendum were based on what would happen when the UK left the European Union and the single market. As we have not yet left the EU, any such damage has for the most part yet to materialise. "The Brexit decision was a big shock to markets and companies, but this has since broadly stabilised. “We'll have to wait to understand precisely what the future terms of trade with the EU and the rest of the world will be, before being able to make confident predictions about its economic impact. We, and other local business leaders are making it very clear that the South West will remain 'open for business', regardless of what happens.”

What are your expectations for the future? “The future really depends on what deal the UK can secure in its exit negotiations with the EU and what knock on effects this has on UK companies. “There are a whole host of questions

that need to be resolved such as: how easy will it be for companies to hire skilled employees from the EU? Will we remain in the single market or customs union? Will exporters to the EU have to comply with two sets of regulations - both UK and EU?”

How is Business West helping its members? “If companies have particular interests in the European market that they want defended, they should act now to communicate these to Government. We have a direct line to civil servants in the Brexit department and are busy surveying our members and preparing to feed their issues into government. It's clear this is a time when business needs to have its voice heard. Let us know your views by contacting the Policy team 01275 373 373 or email me personally.”

12 insight NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016

L-R: Phil Smith Managing Director – Business West, Catherine Raines Director General – ITI, Rob Harvey Head of International – Business West, Tim Harrap Head of Collaboration – Lye Cross Farms, Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP – Secretary of State for International Trade, James Monk Commercial Director – Business West, Jason Carter Deputy Regional Director South West – DIT

Liam Fox to help the region export

Fox visited Business West’s new International Trade Centre at their Bristol headquarters. Working with Dr Fox’s Department for International Trade (DIT), Business West aims to recruit 250


new exporting companies by next April. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: “As Secretary of State for International Trade and MP for North Somerset, I know that the South West has an abundance of successful, innovative companies, but many are yet to take the next step and grow their business through exports. “This new International Trade Centre, run by Business West, will play an important role in helping

firms in Bristol and the wider South West region to take that all important first step and gain access to new markets and reach new customers across the globe.” Phil Smith, managing director of Business West, said: “We are enthusiastic in taking up the challenge from Liam Fox to help to encourage and help both first time and existing exporters. It’s amazing that only about 11% of UK businesses export, which gives us here in the South West a huge opportunity to really break through into exporting. “On average, companies earn £100,000 in additional sales within 18 months of working with us

and the Department for International Trade. The big bonus for these companies is that the Business West export advice from our DIT team of trade experts is free.” So far this year DIT’s team of International Trade Advisers in the South West have have worked alongside more than 1,300 businesses helping them secure in excess of £50m in export orders. Any South West business can discuss how DIT can help by calling 01275 370944.

usiness West is giving a boost to the government’s post-Brexit export drive in the South West to meet the challenge of recruiting hundreds more companies to become exporters for the first time. And as a first step in the campaign, International Trade Secretary Liam

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