Exports chief urges ‘pos­i­tive ap­proach’ to ne­go­ti­a­tions

Western Mail - - NEWS -

CHAN­CEL­LOR Philip Ham­mond has been ac­cused of speak­ing “neg­a­tively” by the boss of an ex­port trade as­so­ci­a­tion.

Mar­cus Dol­man said fail­ure to strike a deal with the EU would be the “worst case all round” but called for a “pos­i­tive” ap­proach.

It comes as busi­ness lead­ers are to is­sue a fresh warn­ing to min­is­ters not to jeop­ar­dise Bri­tain’s trade with Europe through “brinks­man­ship” in the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Mr Dol­man, co-chairman of the Bri­tish Ex­porters As­so­ci­a­tion and an ex­ec­u­tive at Rolls-Royce, said a deal be­tween the EU and the UK was in the “best in­ter­est” of both sides.

Asked about the Chan­cel­lor’s ap­proach, he told BBC Ra­dio 4’s To­day pro­gramme: “I think he is speak­ing a lit­tle neg­a­tively. I think we need to pos­i­tive about this.

“Busi­nesses are re­silient. They will be plan­ning for even­tu­al­i­ties. If there is a hard Brexit, then busi­nesses will find a way around it.”

In a key­note ad­dress, Bri­tish Cham­bers of Com­merce (BCC) di­rec­tor-gen­eral Adam Mar­shall will say that any fur­ther de­lay in open­ing trade talks risks creat­ing a “lose-lose sce­nario” for both sides.

His com­ments come as the fifth round of ne­go­ti­a­tions in Brus­sels draws to a close with the two sides still ap­par­ently dead­locked over the terms of Bri­tain’s with­drawal.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief ne­go­tia­tor, has made clear the EU is not pre­pared to dis­cuss a postBrexit trade deal un­til there is fur­ther progress on the is­sues of cit­i­zens’ rights, the bor­der with Ire­land and the UK’s “di­vorce bill”.

Speak­ing at the BCC’s in­ter­na­tional trade sum­mit in Birm­ing­ham, Mr Mar­shall will say that it would be “un­for­giv­able” if the en­trenched po­si­tions taken by the two sides ended up dam­ag­ing their thriv­ing trade re­la­tion­ship.

“I want to urge both the UK Gov­ern­ment and the EU27 to strain every sinew to move ahead, and put trade and tran­si­tion at the heart of ne­go­ti­a­tions by the end of 2017,” he will say.

“Euro­pean busi­nesses need clar­ity. Bri­tish busi­nesses need clar­ity. Third coun­try busi­nesses need clar­ity - with Amer­i­can, Ja­panese, Aus­tralian, Indian and Cana­dian firms press­ing for this.

“Fur­ther de­lays to trade and tran­si­tion talks would cre­ate a lose-lose sce­nario for ev­ery­one with a stake in the game.

“It would be un­for­giv­able for politi­cians on ei­ther side of the Chan­nel to priv­i­lege brinks­man­ship and dis­rup­tion over thriv­ing trade.”

Mr Mar­shall will also de­nounce the “de­mon­i­sa­tion” of busi­ness by politi­cians from across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum in or­der to boost their poll rat­ings.

“In re­cent years, an en­tre­pre­neur could be for­given for thinking that the Bri­tish po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment had turned lock, stock and bar­rel against busi­ness,” he was due to say.

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