Christoph Leitl, President of EUROCHAMBRES, with a “Plan B” for post Brexit EU – UK relations

BCCI support the proposal for trade oriented Brexit negotiations

The President of the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (EUROCHAMBRES) Christoph Leitl sent a letter to the UK Prime Minister with a “Plan B” proposal for trade oriented post Brexit EU – UK relations.

The letter reads as follows:

“My Plan B is in fact very simple.

The UK should re-join the Single Market and enter into a customs union with the EU. In parallel, the EU should allow a multiannual period of transition in relation to the free movement of people.

Yes, this would oblige the UK to comply with a range of EU legislation and to recognise the supremacy of the European Court of Justice. Yes, it would also mean that the UK remains directly linked to the EU’s external trade policy, but I do not consider this disadvantageous given the additional leverage it offers in relation to third countries.

In the current political and highly politicised context, this proposal may seem a major compromise for both parties. However, when seen from a more objective perspective, the economic advantages are undeniable:

  • All possibility of tariffs on goods between the EU and UK would be avoided. It would also allow the continuation of common external tariffs and thus avoid the complexity of applying rules of origin requirements between the UK and the EU.
  • Many new non-tariff barriers would also be circumvented, not just in the field of goods, but also in relation to capital and services, such key sectors for the UK and increasingly interwoven with the provision of products in many economic activities.
  • Various other potential problems linked to UK withdrawal from the EU would be resolved, most tangibly in relation to the border with Ireland and the status of Gibraltar.”

The full text of Christoph Leitl’s letter to the UK government is available HERE.

According to a survey of BCCI, 27% of the respondents expect Brexit to have a negative impact on their business. The UK remains a serious financial center in which investment funds are concentrated and directed to appropriate destinations. Underestimating the effects of Brexit and not appreciating the opportunities created by the situation are not in favour of the Bulgarian business, BCCI reckons.

Meanwhile, the British business is also of the opinion that in the Brexit process the institutions should focus on seamless trade with the EU. This is confirmed by a study of GS1 UK – a partner of BCCI and GS1 Bulgaria, which has issued an appeal: “We’ve been working for over 40 years to facilitate cross-border trade between companies across the globe. Now we want to defend it!”

BCCI considers that there is a possibility to achieve a softer Brexit. The general moods of the Bulgarian business are in support of Christoph Leitl’s vision and position and expect progress to be made in the negotiations. It is important to shift the focus from the short-term political benefit to the long-term economic and commercial reality.



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