LONDON (Reuters) - The industry in Britain will have to adapt and be bold if it is to survive Brexit, although it will also face severe challenges from other countries like Germany, Britain’s trade and industry chief has said.
A man holding an umbrella is seen through the rain as he walks along the street behind the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, January 31, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, told BBC Radio that his department was being asked to “make these brave and bold decisions” in the country’s exit from the European Union and a trade deal with the bloc.
“What I’m asking for from businesses is a level head,” Clark said. “They have got to plan through these scenarios and seize the opportunities that they may be presented with.”
Clark’s department is in charge of a wide range of issues, including Brexit. The industry under his charge is a key sector for British employment, where two-thirds of firms employ more than 10 people.
While Clark gave no specific details of the approach he was seeking from the industry, saying only that his department had set out options for businesses to consider, his comments were on a different scale from the swathe of previous, mixed messages on post-Brexit policy from various ministers.
Clark also said Brexit was producing new opportunities for British firms, with trade relations with the United States and China being considered more closely.
“All of the problems that may arise from Brexit are opportunities for British business,” he said.
“Our trade relations with the EU will be much more transactional, and the opportunities will be of a different kind - they may involve acquisitions of our companies, they may involve joint ventures with American companies or Japanese companies, it may be being able to make some difference to the way we shape our development.”
Clark’s department has started discussions with the European Investment Bank to assist British companies seeking opportunities, he said.