The BPCC has been a strong supporter of the UK’s membership of the EU because we believe that EU membership gives the best options for trade and investment and the wealth they produce for the residents of the UK and Poland.
The decision of the British people has given rise to an enormously complex legal, political and economic situation of a scale only exceeded by post world-war chaos. The unwritten British constitution and untested EU law that will govern a UK departure from the EU, will mean that uncertainty will be a constant for at least the medium term.
Many respected commentators are questioning whether Brexit will actually happen. No one knows how the British parliament will vote over the initiation of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. In theory, parliament could vote for a second referendum based on the 3.6m signatures demanding such a referendum. Many of the Brexit campaign leaders have said publicly that they believe a vote for leaving the EU is the best way to negotiate Britain’s position within the EU; some constitutionalists believe that the Scottish parliament may be able to prevent Brexit.
It will be a brave individual who tries to predict the outcome of the current crisis in the UK. So where and how does the BPCC fit in?
Above all the BPCC is aware of the need to reassure Polish investors, importers and exporters about the situation. For many months it will remain business as usual, though new business opportunities and challenges will be arising as change happens.
We will ensure that UK business in Poland will continue to have its voice heard. Whatever the political outcome, the Polish government needs to remain aware of the concerns of UK employers and investors present in Poland. This means ensuring that British business does not suffer unduly from politically inspired measures from Brussels or indeed Warsaw. Conditions for British businesses in Poland must remain the same as for all non-EU international investors present on the Polish market.
Whatever politicians decide, it must not be done without the input of business. In the current situation, the role of business organisations is greater than it ever has been before. A pragmatic voice for solutions that work over those that destroy value is essential.
What can the BPCC do to help? We will work with Polish and British firms seeking to export to the UK or Poland, and with UK businesses looking to invest in Poland, as well as Polish firms considering investing in the UK. Business as usual, albeit in more uncertain times.
We will continue to work alongside both the UK Embassy in Poland and the Polish Embassy in the UK; the friendly relations with our two Honorary Presidents are a strong basis for this work. Our Policy Groups, built up over the years, form a ready platform for our ongoing dialogue with the Polish government, where we have strong relationships with key ministries, agencies, regulators and senior civil servants.
For firms already in bilateral trading relations and for firms considering trade between our two countries – keep an eye on a potentially fast-changing environment. Polish entrepreneurs survived and thrived in very challenging circumstances as communism crumbled and a new political and economic system emerged.
The British Chambers of Commerce network of 52 accredited chambers across the UK, and COBCOE (the Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe) are two powerful institutions with which the BPCC works on behalf of its members. We will also continue to work tirelessly with UKTI and PAIiIZ to ensure a sustainable bilateral business environment for British-Polish business.
On behalf of the Board, I commit to lead the process of helping you to adjust to the new situation, and Paweł Siwecki, the BPCC’s CEO, will engage with our team to make sure you receive all the assistance we can provide in conjunction with many of our members who are experts in the areas that are likely to be problematic in the months and years to come.
As part of the process of staying current about Brexit developments, we will be publishing all the relevant information on our website with a monthly summary of the issues you need to know about to maintain control of your UK-Polish bilateral business.
BPCC statement on UK EU Referendum result