Helping West Yorkshire businesses make the most of international trade opportunities

‘One stop shop’ from LEP and Combined Authority offers guidance and support for firms affected by EU exit.

As the UK’s trading relationships with Europe and the rest of the world change, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) are offering advice and support to help businesses across the region adapt to the new requirements.

Analysis of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement by the Combined Authority shows that this could affect up to 4,800 export businesses and around £2.4 billion of services.

To help businesses in the region understand and adapt to the new international trading environment, and build new opportunities, the LEP has put in place a new service offering one-to-one advice and technical support.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said: “Our changing trading relationship with the EU and the rest of the world means many of our businesses will be facing extra bureaucracy and complexity when buying or selling goods or services abroad.

“We’re doing all we can to make the transition as smooth as possible and help them make the most of new trading opportunities. We’re making advice and support available on a range of subjects, from customs arrangements, to legal and employment issues and how to access new markets."

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NP11 group of Northern local enterprise partnerships, said: “As the country’s largest financial and professional services hub outside of London, we are keen that the government can secure a deal on services as soon as possible. We must also look at the opportunities that present themselves outside the EU in other, rapidly growing parts of the world.

“Our region has a massive potential that I believe will only grow in the coming years. We have strengths in many of the industries that will be vital to meeting global challenges in the future and the potential rewards are enormous if we are bold enough to seize the opportunity.”

The Combined Authority and LEP are working to understand the full impact of the agreement. Its analysis shows that businesses in the manufacturing, chemicals, food and drink, and retail sectors, professional and financial services, and creative industries stand to be most affected.

While the agreement means zero tariffs and quotas on many goods, there are specific, technical requirements that many of the 4,800 West Yorkshire businesses that import and export with Europe will need to adapt to.

The agreement will create new barriers for the approximately £2.4 billion of services exported from West Yorkshire to the EU. Key restrictions are around short-term business trips and the mutual recognition of qualifications, which will initially see no automatic recognition of UK qualifications in the EU.

To help businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber cope with the extra requirements of the UK’s exit from the EU, the LEP is making resources available with support from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Working with Enterprise Growth Solutions (EGS), and the other three LEPs in region, it has created the Yorkshire and Humber EU Transition Service as a single point of contact for businesses needing information and support.

The service will operate until March 2021. It will offer quick access to technical support services and one to one advice for businesses on a range of issues around international trade. It will also be able be to connect businesses with more complex or specialist requirements with a range of expert support.

The LEP is also working closely with the Chambers of Commerce in the region to support businesses involved in international trade with the range of new documentation requirements facing them.

In addition, the LEP is hosting a series of EU exit webinars on issues such as VAT and cashflow, supply chains, employment law, and marketing. It has also appointed law firm Squires, Patton, Boggs to offer free, one-hour legal support clinics to businesses on issues around EU exit.

For more information and support for businesses about the EU exit, see the LEP’s dedicated webpage.

To access the Yorkshire and Humber EU Transition Service, email
eutransitionyh@mobile.trade.gov.uk, or call 0300 365 1000. The service aims to respond to all enquiries within 48 working hours.