Having been part of the single market and customs union for decades, leaving the EU will bring both challenges and opportunities for the UK. We’ll now need to forge new relationships with the EU and the rest of the world. International trade is both technically and politically complex, something the UK will need to master quickly to get the best possible outcome.
According to the Office of National Statistics, in 2016 44% of UK exports went to other EU countries and, post Brexit, changes to our access to the Single Market could have a significant impact. It’s a critical time for businesses trading from and into the UK market to make the preparations they need to feel prepared for the changes ahead.
Government and business have spent this past year starting to understand and prepare for these changes, and mechanisms for bringing together trade expertise and establishing a meaningful dialogue between government and business are of crucial importance.
"In the G&PS Industry we knew we had to do something to support our clients during this time of great uncertainty. I’m immensely proud of the network of experts we’ve brought together with deep insights on this topic, and the collaboration we’re beginning to foster between the public and private sectors."
To support our clients as they grapple with these issues, our Government and Public Sector Industry (G&PS) has established the Trade & Investment Hive, a market convener bringing together trade expertise from all areas of PwC - both in the UK and throughout our global network - as well as more than 30 external experts.
The Trade & Investment Hive reflects our purpose of solving important problems and the value we place on working together. And by opening a dialogue between our clients from all industries, we’ve started to foster collaboration between government and business, a relationship we believe is critical to our success as a nation as we embark on this new chapter in our trading history.
Our series of ‘Trade Matters’ events are a visible demonstration of our commitment to create debate and enable collaboration between business and government. And our Brexit Trade Risk Diagnostic and Brexit Customs and Trade Impact Assessment tool give our clients a framework for assessing the impact on their business through understanding such things as the impact of Tariffs and new Customs procedures and charges on their supply chains, and the impact of changes in regulation and potential withdrawal of R&D funding from the EU.
Our work with clients is enabling them to embrace the current uncertainty, planning for a range of scenarios and being clear on where the impact of Brexit lies for their organisation and their priorities for the future. For many of our clients, the frameworks we provide are enabling them to make critical decisions now - about investments, location or supply chain - to safeguard their future success.
The Trade & Investment Hive is putting ‘trade matters’ firmly on the business agenda. Whichever way the Brexit negotiations conclude, how the UK trades with the rest of the world will be different and we’ll have to embrace new ways of running and growing businesses. The dialogue we‘ve started over the past year will support us as we respond to the challenges and opportunities ahead.