At 10, Downing Street and House of Commons
Srita Heide International was member of an international delegation visit to London to discuss and exchange views on Post-Brexit Phase, terms of Brexit, relationship with EU and non-EU countries. One-hour stay at 10, Downing Street incl. a short personal exchange with the host of the house, Theresa May, who took time to answer all the questions of her visitors personally. Later, Srita Heide participated as a guest speaker at the House of Commons – and was the voice of small and medium-sized businesses in Europe and Asia, and participated in a discussion with Steve Baker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Secretary of State Alec Schelbrooke.
“In the business world all discussions on Brexit lead to doubt, uncertainty and scepticism”, says Srita Heide. “Anywhere you are in the world the trade and business community are looking towards terms of Brexit which will define the future relationship of UK with the European Union”.
The terms of Brexit and the future relationship between UK and EU should not be only focussed on economic front, but also covers a broader perspective like social, political, geographical and legal. “Above all what we forget sometimes in our discussion that this is not only a topic of interest for the EU countries, but also much of interest for the non-EU countries” comments Srita Heide. “In the last almost 20 years the EU negotiated and implemented almost 38 FTA with non-EU countries and 20 further are in progress. So, these countries are obviously raising the question what next?” As UK also profited from these FTAs how is it going to ensure free trade relationship with these non-EU-countries post-Brexit? Different sectors like automotive (as we know from Japan) and pharmaceutical are going to be affected.
There is an ongoing debate on the future trade relationship between UK and EU. All different models are considered to be possible solutions like European Economic Area (Norway), CETA (Canada), a series of bi-lateral agreements (Switzerland). However, when Srita Heide placed this question to Madame Prime Minister she firmly commented that it is going to be a broader free trade agreement and the terms, scope and parameters are yet to be defined. Trade in services is more difficult to define than trade in goods especially when it is crossing borders.
Many companies and organizations from non-EU countries e.g. India, Japan haven chosen UK as the European headquarter and benefited from the single market policy. So, now they are waiting with uncertainty to understand the terms of Brexit and maybe re-think their business strategy and eventually choosing another city like Frankfurt or Paris for their headquarter.
All such political decisions should focus on continuity of business and trade relations and sustainable growth of all stakeholders involved. Political decisions on trade and business should be focussed on sustainable growth for the entire society.