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SCC calls for constructive spirit in Brexit talks following PM’s speech

[ 02-03-2018 ]

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce has welcomed the Prime Minister’s speech on the UK’s future economic partnership with the European Union and called for both sides to show flexibility and goodwill in the difficult negotiation ahead.

A delegation from the Scottish Chambers travels to London next week for its annual London Business Visit (6-7 March) including high-level meetings with Westminster politicians from all parties as well as with business leaders. It will use the opportunity to reiterate the priorities that Network members have emphasised throughout the Brexit process.  

Describing Theresa May’s Mansion House speech on the principles behind the Government’s Brexit negotiating position as “a firm but positive statement that signals a willingness to give and take”, SCC Chief Executive Liz Cameron said: 

“Although the issues she identifies, and many others besides, will require much more detailed examination than is possible in a single speech, the Prime Minister has set the tone for a constructive negotiation with the European Commission.” 

“The Scottish Chambers of Commerce applauds Mrs May’s commitment to a continued close relationship between the UK and the EU, symbolised by her reassurances on key issues such as alignment of legal systems, product standards, consumer rights and state aid.”

“As well as her wish to negotiate to forestall the risk of additional tariffs or quotas, the disruption of the UK’s internal single market, or any other disruptors of mutually beneficial commerce, our businesses will also be reassured by her wish for the UK to continue as part of EU agencies that govern the terms of trade for industries such as medicines, chemicals and aviation.” 

“However in some key areas, in particular, the lack of detail remains disappointing at this short distance from Brexit itself. It is especially important for Scottish businesses that we have access to an adequate supply of appropriately skilled EU labour, our members would like provision of more detailed proposals on the preservation of labour mobility to be high on the agenda. We need to reassure businesses who depend on being able to staff roles that would otherwise go unfilled.”


For further information please contact Colin Donald on 07793 606901 or Charandeep Singh on 07984 495871  


Notes for Editors:  In June 2017 The SCC set out its Brexit priorities, which included “absolute clarity on the long-term futures of EU nationals in the workforce.  There are a significant number of businesses in Scotland which rely on the talents of EU nationals to keep the wheels of industry turning. These workers – and UK workers in the EU - need security of employment and residency to allow businesses to create the wealth and opportunities that our country needs to make a success of Brexit.”

The EU’s importance to Scottish businesses is particularly marked in the context of the SCC-supported drive to increase the number of Scottish businesses that are exporting.  SCC’s view is that the EU represents a large nearby market with which the UK has a high degree of regulatory convergence and has long been a first choice destination for new exporters. 

The SCC has called on the UK Government to pursue a trade deal with the EU that ensures maximum access to the single market with an absolute minimum of financial tariff barriers and continued low non-tariff barriers.  Trade deals with the rest of the world will come but may take time, therefore many Scottish businesses will continue to prioritise UK and EU trade.