The accumulating effect of the war in Ukraine, combined with over-hanging ramifications of Covid-19 and Brexit, were considered by a key business group in Bradford recently.
Bradford Chamber’s Leadership Group received input from two speakers who are helping the District’s economy remain resilient and buoyant despite the current difficulties. Peter Bainbridge, of the Chamber’s International team, and Bradford Council’s Policy Officer, Mark Clayton, met with key business leaders as the local economy and wider geographical area strives to return to some kind of normality following two years of uncertainty. That aspiration has since been undermined by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The meeting enabled all parties to enhance their knowledge and awareness of both local and international issues, which will help the Chamber to pursue high-quality representation and lobbying on behalf of its members.
On the Ukraine situation, many firms trading with either of the two combatants had insulated themselves from potential disruption by foreseeing the likely obstacles: exports and imports were moved ahead of originally planned schedules, and stockpiles of imports were also built up. Exports to Russia itself were understandably problematic, and some firms are unhappy with the level of detail being provided in government guidance.
A recent Covid lockdown in Shenzhen – the world’s third largest shipping port – would definitely affect global supply chain issues, although there would be a time-lag as large operators attempt to divert via other ports. The Leadership Group was told that 50% of China’s online retailers are based in Shenzhen, while 90% of components shipped out of China come through the city.
Group members wondered if looking to the West, rather than the East, for increased trade might be more fruitful. A recent business survey had revealed that 25% of firms currently involved in China are considering reducing their investment in the country.
Mike Cartwright of the Chamber’s Policy team said:
“It’s clearly a very difficult and unsettling time for many businesses right now. The onslaught of pressures they are facing means that supportive measures and representation have never been more important. Our Leadership Groups – for Leeds and York & North Yorkshire, as well as Bradford – are key cogs in our Policy & Representation machine; they provide up-to-date information on how our businesses are performing, and they are given information on projects and schemes that assists with future planning.”
More information on the Chamber’s Policy & Representation work can be found at https://www.wnychamber.co.uk/representation/