Could Normanton Business be First in Region to Secure Post Brexit European Deal?

Cross-channel talks are underway which may lead to the establishment of the first trading partnership between a Yorkshire and EU company since the EU referendum result.

Senior staff from German cleaning products manufacturer, Calvatis GmbH, Ladenburg, flew in on June 27 after the UK’s EU Referendum exit decision was announced, to start exploratory talks about setting up a joint enterprise with Normanton-based Proton Group.

If successful, the talks could see Calvatis GmbH, a manufacturer of cleaning, and disinfection products alongside hygiene management systems for industrial use, establish a trading base in Yorkshire in return for the Proton Group, gaining a trading platform in Germany. Proton Group had previously taken part in a Wakefield Business Support Programme organised trade mission to Berlin in November 2014. With a strong record of success in the export market Proton Group have continued to engage with both Wakefield first and Chamber International in boosting theirs and other businesses export potential.

Chamber International, have highlighted the talks as an example of how the international reputation of UK businesses and grassroots desire in the EU to continue business with Britain can help ameliorate trading hurdles thrown up by the Brexit decision.

Proton Group managing director, Murray Angus, a Chamber International export ambassador, says:

“Calvatis has a network of trading partners in Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and South Africa and, as they do not have a UK presence, approached us with a view to forming a trade partnership, so they may establish a market in the UK for their products and offer a trading platform for us in Germany.

“We are already active in Europe in but recognise there is a lot more potential for us there. As we have a reputation for the production and supply of high-quality products, Calvatis’ approach was not a surprise, even though we knew them before this.

“This is evidence that, in spite of the Brexit vote, UK-EU trade, can continue, hopefully as close to before as possible.  The attitude of our two businesses is that it is ‘business as usual’.   If the UK continues to supply products and services which are of value to other countries, I cannot see why Brexit should have a major impact.”

Speaking from Germany, Calvatis GmbH export sales director, Hans Graumans, who visited Proton Group with his managing partner, Thomas Mohr, says:

“The UK is an important country where our key customers have their production plants and, when we want to supply these key customers, we need to have also access to the UK market.

“The UK Brexit vote was a surprise, and will give some extra hurdles, but we still believe in trade possibilities with the UK as we have partners in other countries with difficult circumstances for trading.

“We would never let an issue such as the UK’s Brexit vote get in the way of trading with UK companies. Businesses need to solve these problems another way. The only issue for us is the fall in pound sterling.”

Tim Bailey, director of Chamber International, which organises exporting events for Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership said

“Immediately after the EU referendum, we conducted exporter customer research about what effect they think the Brexit vote will have on their business and most, though cautious, intend to carry on as normal, benefitting from the immediate fall in the value of the pound.

“Exporters are, by nature, pretty resilient and ingenious people, used to overcoming obstacles. News of the talks between Proton Group and Calvitis GmbH epitomises this and demonstrates that EU countries remain keen to trade with the UK.”