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The Brexit Outlook with James Ramsbotham


In this video, our Chief Executive James Ramsbotham explains the Chamber's position on Brexit and talks about why No Deal in particular will be damaging to the North East economy.

Here is a transcription of the main points in this video

There’s a lot of talk in the press and indeed amongst politicians about No Deal.

No Deal would, I think everybody who has looked at it agrees, be an absolute disaster, particularly in North East England where we have such an integrated economy with trading partners across Europe.

Imagine suddenly finding that everything that we were working with today, no longer works in the way that we had worked to improve, for so long.

People talk about World Trade Organisation rules – WTO rules – let’s be quite clear, WTO rules is like putting a country on benefits.

WTO rules are a last resort. They are where you go when nothing else is possible.

They are not designed to be a lifestyle choice. They are something that every single country that has to rely on them, spends so much time trying to put in place trade arrangements, so that they don’t need to work with them.

They come with huge complexity and people who think that it will see a reduction in food costs and other items, simply haven’t looked at the total nature of them.

Whatever you do with one country you have to do exactly the same with another, and if you are genuinely going to offer something with no tariffs at all, then that impact will be to crucify British business.

We need to be very, very concerned about people who really don’t understand this, and blithely suggest that No Deal is an option.

It is absolutely not an option for us, and our long-term future.

What is important is what we do want going forward.

Fundamentally, for businesses in the North East and indeed everybody who lives and works here, we need a deal that delivers something as close as possible to the current trading arrangements that we’ve got with the EU.

Indeed, we as the Chamber of Commerce who look at this scenario each and every day, will benchmark whatever happens, against the current arrangements.

This ideal outcome is really difficult to achieve, and whilst I tweeted on 24 June 2016 that ‘things always turn out best, for those who make the best of the way that things turn out’ we find it hard to find any real advantages which come close to our current arrangements.

So we need to make sure that our politicians really understand that the responsibility is on them to come up with some arrangement that effectively mirrors the current trading arrangements that we have across the European Union.