Campaign launched to help North-East businesses benefit post-Brexit

Jonathan Walker, North East England Chamber of Commerce head of policy and campaigns.

A campaign is being launched today to ensure the North East’s manufacturing supply chain will be well positioned to take advantage of the post-Brexit landscape.

Organised by the North East England Chamber of Commerce and commercial law firm, Square One Law, the Brexit Ready Supply Chain campaign will be the focal point for a planned and collaborative approach to Brexit preparations.

While highlighting the importance and complexity of effective supply-chain management and innovation in North-East manufacturing, the campaign will work with regional businesses to identify the implications of Brexit as well as encouraging firms to begin a comprehensive planning process.

A report will also be produced on the opportunities for better supply-chain development, management and innovation in the North East. It will be developed through a series of workshops discussing key supply-chain issues and how businesses either have innovated or are facing barriers to innovation.

Jonathan Walker, Chamber head of policy and campaigns, said: “The project will undoubtedly help to build our supply chain’s resilience. Many firms operate in complex supply-chain networks across international boundaries. Rules governing these operations will inevitably be subject to some change as we leave the EU and businesses should be prepared well in advance to avoid unnecessary disruption. We are delighted to be working with Square One Law on this project which will see us advocating more support for businesses so they can be well prepared for Brexit.”

Ian Gilthorpe, senior partner at Square One Law, a Chamber Partner member, said: “We approached the Chamber following discussions with a number of businesses in the manufacturing supply chain who wanted clear guidance as how best to prepare their operations for the uncertainty Brexit poses.

“Our EU specialist Neil Warwick has designed Brexit Ready Supply Chain guidelines to address the common issues that manufacturing business will need to understand, such as rules of origin, non-tariff barriers, migration rules, skills and intellectual property. It will also explore possible solutions businesses can deploy to avoid operational disruption.”

A supporter of the campaign is Mike Matthews MBE, managing director of Nifco UK and former president of the Chamber, who said: “One of the key issues facing the manufacturing sector, among others, is the well-documented skills shortage and there is a real possibility that this could worsen following the UK’s departure from the EU.

“The need for the manufacturing supply chain to collaborate and communicate pre-Brexit to ensure a positive outcome post-Brexit is of vital importance and campaigns like this one will ensure the North-East business community is having the right discussions in good time. Every business is only as strong as the next link in the supply chain and it is clear that preparation will be vital.”

Neil Warwick, EU and competition partner at Square One Law, said: “Unless an implementation period is agreed, there is now only one year for the written agreement for Brexit to be submitted to the EU Parliament, so the sooner we can start having these discussions the better prepared the North East’s supply chain will be to respond in an agile and co-ordinated way.”

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