Commenting on the Prime Minister’s speech on Brexit, Liz Maher, President of the South and Mid Wales Chambers of Commerce said:
“In business, what you achieve in a negotiation – not what you bid for – is what really matters.
“The Brexit process is no different. While businesses now have a clearer sense of the Prime Minister’s top-line priorities, they will come away from her speech knowing little more about the likely outcome of the Brexit negotiations than they did yesterday.
“The simple fact is that Welsh businesses are carrying on. 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 we in Wales 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.”
On the Single Market and Customs Union:
“Many businesses facing immediate post-Brexit impacts have been preparing for the eventuality that the UK would leave both the Single Market and the Customs Union, with some sort of free trade deal to follow.
“The Prime Minister’s remarks largely confirm this, and although it will disappoint many Welsh businesses I would encourage all firms to put in place plans for when we leave the Single Market. The Chamber of Commerce’s international trade team regularly advise businesses on the requirements for export and will be ready to support our affected members though any changes.”
On proposals for a transitional period after Brexit:
“Agreeing a reasonable transitional period that gives directly-affected businesses the breathing space they need to adapt to new realities would simply be common sense.”
“If, as the Prime Minister suggested, citizens of the EU-27 are subject to future restrictions, a simple and 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.”