“Businesses across the region will breathe a sigh of relief at the news that a UK-EU trade deal has been announced.
“After more than four years of uncertainty, and then a very difficult nine months of Covid disruption, it is good to have a concrete deal that companies can start to work with. A No Deal would have been highly damaging, both in economic terms, but also in souring relationships between the UK and the EU and making it harder to come to common agreements that would help keep day to day trade flowing.
“The deal announced will still create new paperwork and barriers to trade with Europe. It is by no means perfect, but it does give an economic and political framework for future trade and a basis for economic co-operation.
“Despite this good news, business still have an urgent need to prepare for the new requirements that will be needed to trade with the EU from 1st January 2021. This includes a need for customs declarations, a different set of regulatory requirements and new ways of dealing with VAT, logistics, services and a whole host of other nuts and bolts issues. Business West has been giving guidance to companies on how to prepare through our web advice platform: www.tradingthroughbrexit.com
“Given the lack of time to prepare fully, many businesses will be hoping that there can be an implementation period, to stop a potential big adjustment shock at the turn of the year. Although the UK government has previously ruled it out, we hope both parties can come to a pragmatic arrangement that firms on both sides will need a period to get used to new rules and prevent serious economic disruption.
“This is the start of a new era. We hope that a period of difficult and painful political disagreement can now be drawn to a close. Given the pressing need for economic growth and recovery that we currently face, we hope we can now move away from posturing towards pragmatism and create a new and constructive relationship with our closest trading partner."