JCB Breakfast Conference 8th November
On Wednesday the 8th November over 40 Chamber members gathered at the Ambassador’s Residence for a prestigious Breakfast Conference in association with JCB and DIT. Lord Llewellyn welcomed the guests and reaffirmed that now is a particularly important moment for businesses to get their voices heard.
Chamber President, Olivier Campenon welcomed the speakers, Nicolas Bouzou the renowned essayist and economist and Françoise Rausch, President JCB SAS and Senior Executive Adviser JCB Sales Ltd
Nicolas Bouzou was first to speak; he delivered an insightful presentation on the effects of Brexit for France and the UK and how the UK’s decision to leave the EU will affect the countries’ relationship. Nicolas argued that in the short run the main issues that Brexit brings is due to the uncertainties surrounding the terms of Brexit and the fact is an unprecedented decision. However, Nicolas’ speech was positive, and he argued that in the long run the UK and France will carry on trading and being close partners. Nicolas believes this will be possible as he envisages that the UK will become a sort of quasi member of the EU.
Nicolas argued that globalisation has fundamentally changed the workings of contemporary business as we know it. Business is no longer simply an exchange of goods, but technology has allowed businesses to manage a global database. This has made protectionism an obsolete concept and is why he argues Brexit will not change anything in the long run. Nicolas also added that in the long run we should expect to see healthy relationships between France and the UK as it seems that the populist movement has weakened and since the election of Donald Trump there has been no real resurgence of populism.
Nicolas argued that now it seems that the UK are in a position of weakness as they are demanding the terms of Brexit. Nicolas argued that in order to minimise the impacts of Brexit, the UK and France should organise cooperative tangible projects and assert their commercial links together as after Brexit this will become more complex, given that the access to the single market will not be accessible in the same conditions. Nicolas made it clear that it is important that a deal should be struck to allow the best and brightest people to travel for employment.
He concluded that fundamentally the UK is part of the European civilisation.
Françoise Rausch, President JCB SAS and Senior Executive Adviser JCB Sales Ltd then delivered her perspectives on how Brexit may impact the construction industry. Françoise highlighted that for JCB, Brexit will not cause any fundamental changes as JCB is a worldwide business, which is used to operating in countries in which it does not have free circulation of goods. Rather, flexibility and reactivity are at the heart of JCB which will allow JCB to maintain its growth in European countries.
The floor was opened up to questions and Chamber members put their complex questions to the floor and received insightful answers from both Nicolas and Françoise.