BRADFORD businesses will be encouraged to improve links with emerging markets, such as Pakistan, now Britain has left the EU.
Chief Executive for Bradford Council Kersten England said existing links between Bradford and the Asian subcontinent could serve the District well now UK trade has been changed forever.
She was giving members of the Council’s Executive an update on how Brexit would impact Bradford.
Four and a half years after the Brexit referendum, the United Kingdom finally signed a Brexit deal with the EU in the final days of 2020 – just beating a deadline that would have otherwise seen the UK leave without any deal in place.
The Executive, meeting online on Tuesday, heard that it was still “early days” and it would be some time before the full impact of Brexit on Bradford businesses was clear.
But several small and medium businesses that do trade with Europe had already asked for support in navigating the added bureaucracy created by the UK’s exit.
This is what will change for people following Brexit
She also pointed out that the deal did not include detail of financial services.
Mrs England said: “There has been no deal on professional and financial services. The Leeds City Region (of which Bradford is a part of) is the second biggest financial centre in the country outside London, so there is concern that we need a deal as soon as possible.”
Referring to the deal made just before New Year, she added: “It is very welcome news, and a big relief these is a deal.
“That is not to dismiss the fact that for many small and medium enterprises the bureaucracy now required if you are importing or exporting is considerable and many are struggling already with completing paperwork and are looking for support to do so.
“We’re working with HMRC to ensure there is a flexibility in the first few months, particularly when goods get to borders.
“Overall it is early days when determining the wider impacts.
“The wider issue is now about deepening our engagement with markets outside the EU.
“In particular we were talking about the opportunities that the Asian subcontinent represents for the region and particularly the economy of Bradford.
“There are already so many familial and business connections, and there are large markets opening up, particularly in Pakistan.
“We need to be supporting businesses with their continued trading with the EU, but also to look at trade with new markets.”
During the meeting members heard that of Bradford’s 26,000 EU citizens, around 61 per cent had so far been awarded settled status.
Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “Bradford’s EU citizens are welcome here, I hope they realise this. They provide a valuable economic contribution, and are welcome to live, work and stay here.”