Franco-British Chamber approach to Brexit

Keeping unity in the face of Brexit

The Franco-British Chamber of Commerce approach

Franco-British Chamber wins a COBCOE Award 2017Founded in 1873, the Franco-British Chamber takes pride in its long and distinguished history. In fact, it is both the oldest British chamber of commerce in Europe and the oldest ‘foreign’ chamber of commerce in France.

In the face of daunting challenges, including two world wars, the Great Depression and the recent global economic crises, the chamber has proven a remarkably dynamic and adaptable organisation, uniting and assisting the Franco-British business community for 144 years.  None of this has changed with the Brexit vote.

The chamber continues to play its role providing support and advice to members during this transitional period, cementing these efforts via many activities:

  • Hosting eight meetings, two of which held at Bercy Ministry of Finance,

  • Attending several media interviews on national and international outlets (France Inter, BMF, Sky)

  • Offering commentary on social media channels, namely our blog ‘The Channel’ with eight blog articles, mostly produced internally.

With the Brexit announcement, the British people entered unchartered waters, raising many questions.  Some of these questions, as per the sample below, will only be answered in time. We strive to support the ongoing trading activities of our British and French members whatever the Brexit landscape looks like. 

The British economy has never done so well

Although it hasn’t collapsed, as was predicted in the case of a Brexit vote, it has started to show worrying signs; inflation is increasing, consumption is declining, and the pound sterling has weakened. However, the UK still benefits from the highest growth in Europe and has a low unemployment rate of 5%.

All the banks are going to leave London: Wrong 

Only a few banks have announced the relocation of part of their teams towards either Paris (HSBC), Frankfurt, (Standard Chartered) or Dublin (Barclays). The financial centre of London, the City, which is currently seen as the financial centre of Europe, will very probably stay as is, even if a third of transactions are carried out in euros and might therefore have to be repatriated, in which case the famous financial ‘passport’ will probably be lost.

Brexit is an opportunity for France: true but not necessarily a given

The transformation of commercial agreements with the UK will give opportunities to those businesses agile enough to make the most of the current situation – welcoming bankers, providing a service that accompanies these changes, or implementing the logistical sequences that will be necessary to adapt to the return of custom-heavy transactions.

Such open-ended questions make it difficult to prepare for the coming years. Perhaps the only certainty we have is that Brexit will continue to dominate our news in the months and years to come like no other subject in recent memory. We must have an open dialogue and bring forth the voice and opinions of entrepreneurs. In more than 144 years of operations, we have been through periods of massive upheaval and have always maintained the belief that the interests of both nations can be best served by constructive and fruitful trade links. We celebrate our respective differences and the many things which we have in common.

For more information about the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce, please contact: Catherine LeYaouanc, General Manager, Tel: +33 1 53 30 81 32.


Pictured above: Catherine LeYaouanc receives the COBCOE Award for Excellence in Digital Communications 2017 at the COBCOE Awards Dinner in London in April. Pictured with her are David Crackett, former Vice Chair of COBCOE, and Kevin Simmons, COBOCE Honorary Treasurer

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