8 December 2017
Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Response:
Hampshire Chamber of Commerce welcomes the news from the EU today that Brexit negotiations have been cleared to move on to the next crucial phase, trade negotiations. We urge the Government to move swiftly in securing the best possible trade deal, so important to businesses in Hampshire and across the UK. It is vital that uncertainty is lifted and companies are able to continue to do what they do best, providing world-leading products and services across Europe and beyond.
Adam Marshall, the director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said "clarity and security" for European employees had been the biggest priority for UK companies since the referendum vote.
"We are delighted that they, as well as UK citizens living and working in the EU, now have more clarity and can plan their future with greater confidence," he said.
As attention turns to trade negotiations, the BCC said companies wanted "absolute clarity" on the long-term deal being sought.
"Businesses want answers on what leaving the EU will mean for regulation, customs, hiring, standards, tariffs and taxes."
The EEF, which represents manufacturers, said the agreement was one step forward in a complex and long process.
EEF chief executive Stephen Phipson said: "We need to pin down the transition arrangements, which will be in place after March 2019, to ensure it's business as usual for companies for as long as it takes until a final deal is reached.
"Until we get to that point, many businesses will need to prepare for any and every eventuality."
The ADS Group, the trade organisation that represents the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors, called Friday's announcement "an important step".
"Continued uncertainty over arrangements for a transition period benefits no-one and it is vital that both parties make formal commitments as soon as possible to a transition lasting at least two years, allowing businesses to continue to invest in our economy with confidence," said ADS chief executive Paul Everitt.