Brexit; a view from the eye of the storm

London, 28 June 2016

It will take time to properly assess the implications of the UK’s decision to leave the EU. It has been a tumultuous week of, political resignations – including the Prime Minister – the pound falling to a record low against the dollar, the UK losing its AAA rating, $3 trillion being wiped off the global markets, and governments as far away as Japan having to intervene to protect their small businesses.

The immediate priority is to calm the markets and remind the world that the UK remains open for business. In the short term, priorities include securing access to the single market and ensuring a continued flow of skilled labour, as well as the movement of goods and services across borders.

On 23 June, we saw a protest vote of monumental proportions, with the electorate roaring their discontent with the “Establishment”. The issues ranged from a perceived loss of control over decision-making, a sense that globalisation only benefits a privileged few, and a sense of competition from foreign labour. Many similar issues were highlighted in the Scottish Referendum in 2014.

So, as the dust settles, what does this all mean? It is hard to know for sure - we are in unchartered waters. There are significant hurdles to overcome – including a referendum that was not legally binding, and the fact that 500 MPs voted Remain and are acutely aware of the need to heal wounds. The voice of business has yet to be exerted – but jobs, investment and growth should remain top priorities.

For now, we must remain calm whilst the pieces of the jigsaw are put into place. For the rest of Europe, with calls for referendums already underway, take note – the underlying issues are not just UK issues.

 

ChrisSouthworthICCUK

Chris Southworth
Secretary General ICC United Kingdom

 

NB. In reactie op het nieuws over het Brexit-referendum zei ICC Secretary General John Danilovich, namens het internationale bedrijfsleven dat niet protectionisme maar openheid een centrale rol moet spelen in het antwoord op het Brexit-referendum. Voor het volledige statement, klik hier.

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