David Davis today chaired a roundtable with many of the country’s leading retailers, in the first of a series of events organised by the Department for Exiting the EU, to hear the views of leading businesses on the UK’s exit from the European Union.
He was joined at the roundtable by fellow Ministers David Jones, Robin Walker and Lord Bridges, as well as Small Business Minister Margot James and senior board-level executives from the following UK based retailers and trade associations:
- AS Watson/Hutchison Whampoa (Europe) Limited
- Association of Convenience Stores
- British Retail Consortium
- John Lewis
- National Federation of Retail Newsagents
- The Co-op
The retail sector plays an important part in the UK economy, accounting for over three million jobs. The UK is also the number one destination in Europe and number two globally for foreign direct investment in retail.
Today’s roundtable gave Ministers an opportunity to listen to the sector and get their views on the priority issues and opportunities following the public vote to leave the EU.
They discussed how EU legislation affects the sector and gain insights to ensure that all views are reflected in the analysis being undertaken by the government on the options for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis said:
We are one of the great trading nations of the world and the decision taken by the people to leave the EU will enable us to seize new opportunities and make sure that the UK remains the best place in Europe to own and grow a business.
The negotiations ahead with our EU allies will be complex and require significant expertise. That’s why I’m listening and talking to as many organisations, companies and institutions as possible to understand their concerns, limit any uncertainty, and ultimately ensure that our new place in the world is positive for business.
Our aim is clear: to deliver on what the country instructed us to do in the referendum and build an even more dynamic economy.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
We welcome this discussion today as a positive step on the road to productive engagement with the Secretary of State and DExEU.
Retail is a dynamic and flexible UK success story and is good at dealing with change, but as the voice of retail in the UK the BRC will need to work closely with government to ensure that costs and prices do not rise either for retailers or consumers during the negotiation process or through exiting the EU. We will also play a full part in helping the Department ensure that administrative burdens on the industry do not increase.
The BRC fully supports the government’s aim of free and open trade, and we will work with all parties to identify and take full advantage of such opportunities for the industry as may arise.
Today’s event is one of a number of DExEU roundtables with business leaders and experts scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, covering a variety of sectors.