Portugal: Business confederation concerned about delay in Brexit negotiations

The Portuguese Business Confederation (CIP) on Monday expressed “utmost concern” over the delay in negotiating an agreement on future relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU), which places businesses at increased risk at a time of increased fragility.

In a statement released on Monday, the CIP stated that companies are alarmed and call on those responsible on both sides for the political will to agree.  

The CIP recalled that this week the ninth official round of negotiations between the EU and the United Kingdom will take place, the last round of negotiations currently scheduled and preceding the European Council of 15 and 16 October.

In the communiqué, the president of the CIP, António Saraiva, stated that the CIP has stressed, since the beginning of this process, the importance for companies of reaching a reasonable agreement that will protect trade relations between the EU and the United Kingdom.

“We believe that it is still possible to reach a reasonable agreement promptly, but political will is needed to achieve this goal,” Saraiva said.

The employers’ organisation recalled that the study “Brexit: The Consequences for the Portuguese Economy and Business”, promoted by CIP in 2018, concluded that Brexit will have a negative effect of 15% on Portuguese exports to the UK, but that potential losses could reach 26%, in a more negative scenario where there is no agreement between the UK and the EU.

In this report, a negative impact of between 0.5% and 1% on the Portuguese Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated.

“Companies and economies are already facing the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and cannot be burdened with another situation that will have very high costs,” António Saraiva said.

CIP and BusinessEurope said that it is still possible to reach an agreement that maintains the essentials of commercial relations, safeguarding a level playing field, but that, to do so, it is essential to respect the commitments previously made, so that there is trust between the parties, the communiqué said.