EU Referendum: Why Menter a Busnes believes that leaving the EU would harm businesses and agriculture in Wales

23 May 2016

Exiting the European Union would have a deep and negative impact on businesses in Wales and harm the country’s vital agriculture industry, a leading economic development company has warned.

Menter a Busnes (MaB), which is based in Aberystwyth and has offices in Cardiff, Bangor and St Asaph, has been involved in the support and development of small and medium-sized businesses and the agriculture sector in Wales since its inception  27 years ago.

It has worked on and developed European funded projects in that time and witnessed the benefits to businesses and agriculture throughout that period. But EU funding aside, it says exiting Europe would have a much wider and profound affect on the Welsh economy and communities.

“It’s not just about the European funding that has come into Wales and supported businesses and social projects over recent decades, but much more about the open market, the ability to easily import and export and the opportunities this provides Welsh businesses and international to operate across borders freely within the EU zone,” said Alun Jones, Chief Executive of MaB.

“So many companies in Wales are now exporting into mainland Europe which is extremely important to them and the economy, supporting employment and investment. And at a time of global instability in terms of the economic climate and political unrest, a unified Europe is no more important than ever.”

He highlighted how 250 US and 50 Japanese companies have a manufacturing base in Wales in order to have a foothold into the European market, including the likes of Ford and Toyota.

“Inward investment will be affected. Wales has been a good home for international businesses seeking a base within the EU market. If we’re outside the market then they’ll seek to locate or relocate within the mainland market – costing jobs and investment,” he said.

“As a company we have witnessed at first hand the benefits of European funding on SMEs in Wales, from business support to match funding on Welsh Government projects. The fabric of our agricultural industry has been supported by it and as a direct result our rural communities have prospered and benefited.”

With a very high percentage  of Welsh beef, lamb and dairy exports heading for the  EU market, MaB says the country’s agricultural industry could be severely damaged by an exit from the European market.

“Leaving the European Union will have a significant and damaging affect on all parts of Welsh life. Whether urban or rural we anticipate the social and economic impact will affect all of us in some way or another,” said Mr Jones.

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