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On October 4th, to coincide with the launch of their new Ateca, SEAT invited the British Irish Chamber’s Director of Policy, Deirdre Ardagh as their guest speaker to deliver a key note address around the potential impact of Brexit from a British and Irish trade perspective. Our Director of Policy spoke on the impact of Brexit for the Irish economy, on trade between the two countries and the impact of Brexit on Irish Industry, in particular to the Automotive Sector.

Deirdre emphasized that businesses were not standing still in the face of Brexit, referencing the results of the BICC recent Brexit survey which illustrated some of the main initiatives being taken across industry such as:

  1.  Taking the opportunity to step back and review current business arrangements to identify      risk/weaknesses as well as opportunities, and respond strategically.
  2.  Looking towards greater innovation, to increase competitiveness.
  3.  Collaborating and working together to get shared Brexit issues on the ‘agenda’ of the politicians  and the negotiators of the Article 50 process.

In her address, our Policy Director spoke around what “Brexit Means Brexit” could result in terms of the potential implications for the Automotive sector itself. Deirdre noted that Nissan’s UK CEO announced that Nissan has deferred all new investment until the details of Brexit are clear. Similar remarks were made by Jaguar Land Rover. Even Toyota has indicated that possible customs implications post-Brexit will weigh heavily on its British manufacturing plans.

It was noted that some 57 per cent of the 1.6 million cars made in Britain find buyers in the rest of the EU. The next largest market is the US (12 per cent), followed by China (7 per cent). Around 800,000 jobs are directly or indirectly supported by the vehicle industry in the UK. The hint given by Theresa May, in her comments around leaving behind the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, that the UK will leave the Single Market, will throw up a big red flag for the large automotive manufacturers in the UK, who now appear more likely to suffer tariffs and trade barriers to sell into their main market. It was remarked that the type of issues of concern to the Irish Automotive sector are likely a microcosm of those issue we are seeing faced across our industry and indeed the BICC membership.

Our Policy Director reflected that now at a time of unprecedented demand on finite government resources on both islands, a vital contributor to success will be the availability of effective structures linking public and private sectors to ensure a powerful conduit for the two way flow of insight and expertise. Business leadership has a key role to contribute its insight and experience to those charged with plotting the course to a better future.

Deirdre reiterated that this is a time for working very closely together and the British Irish Chamber is perfectly positioned to be a valuable resource for both the public and private sectors in the important work ahead.

If you would like to learn more about our Policy work  and participate in British Irish Chamber of Commerce activity, please do not hesitate to reach out to the members of our Policy Team.

For further information please contact;

Deirdre Ardagh: deirdre.ardagh@britishirishchamber.com

Paul Lynam: paul.lynam@britishirishchamber.com

Katie Daughen: katie.daughen@britishirishchamber.com