BPCC statement on UK EU Referendum result

The electorate has spoken and we must move on, even though the vast majority of our members will be unhappy with the decision.

The reform agenda as negotiated by Mr Cameron is now off the EU's agenda, as it was conditional on UK staying in the EU. This does not mean that the European administration can afford to take it easy. The departure of one of the most free-trade and competition-oriented economies from the EU will mean that the remaining 27 member states will have to shape up their act if they are to be able to be more competitive globally. Which - with or without the UK - will mean taking on reform measures.

There will be a long period of economic and political uncertainty as the details of Britain's departure are agreed domestically and in Europe. According to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the UK will have two years to determine the precise how and when of Brexit.

There are many different possible outcomes, but essentially there are two - a 'soft' Brexit (UK remains in the European Economic Area, visas not required for EU citizens visiting UK), or a 'hard' Brexit, with the UK's status vis-a-vis the EU being similar to that of the USA.

In the meanwhile, the focus and the key issue here is continuation of trade. For the next two years, there will be little change, the UK's market will remain open to Polish goods and vice versa. What will happen later - tariffs, non-tariff barriers - remains to be seen. Similarly, Poles living and working in the UK will notice little change over the next 24 months. What will happen after that time - we don't currently know.

The UK Government must seek help and support in preparing and delivering the departure negotiations. This means that the day-to-day work of UKTI around the world, in promoting trade and investment, will become more focused on renegotiation of trade treaties.

COBCOE and its network of member chambers around the EU is uniquely placed to assist as it has direct contact and represents businesses that are  doing business day to day with and in Europe. COBCOE is ready to assist and has a huge role in supporting all businesses across Europe involved in trade with the UK in navigating the stormy waters ahead

Many areas that will be negotiated around trade and competition can be enhanced by getting European businesses to support through representation to their governments. Polish firms doing business with the UK should have well-prepared arguments that will enhance the chances of bilateral success in the negotiations ahead.

This is a time for companies doing business bilaterally between the UK and Poland to take an active role in obtaining the best conditions in future trade negotiations.