CESA met with Lord Bridges at 9 Downing Street to present the catering equipment industry’s position on Brexit. Lord Bridges is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union. The meeting lasted 50 minutes and was ‘very positive’, according to Glenn Roberts, chair of CESA. “The government are keen to engage with our industry, they want to know about the sector and what it needs,” he said.
Alongside Roberts at the meeting, and representing the catering equipment industry, were Lord Trefgarne, patron of CESA, Keith Warren, director of CESA, and Phil Williams and Richard Cromwell, who are both on the CESA Council.
During the meeting, the discussions ranged from the big picture – Lord Bridges stated that the government aims to have reached an agreement about our future partnership with the EU by the time the two-year Article 50 process has concluded – to the specific, including the employment needs of the sector and CESA’s request that self-certification should remain in place for UK companies to CE mark equipment (excluding gas equipment).
“Lord Bridges understands that it’s critical that we get clarity on exactly what catering equipment companies will need to do to sell into Europe, post-Brexit,” says Roberts. “Just as important is the question of how we can influence EU policy if we don’t have a seat at the table. For example, currently we are involved in the continuing development of MEPS tests, under the Ecodesign Directive. If we’re not involved, European manufacturers will impose their preferred test standards, without any input from British companies. We also discussed CESA’s desire for the UK to develop our own policies in these areas, ensuring we are keeping pace with the EU, and the importance CESA places on government prioritising this.
The meeting follows the Government’s publication of the green paper, Building Our Industrial Strategy. “CESA is taking the lead in presenting the position of the catering equipment industry to government, following consultation with our members and other trade associations,” says Roberts. “However, I would urge any catering equipment company or organisation with an interest in trade with Europe to respond to the green paper direct.” Copies of the green paper area available from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s consultation hub, at beisgovuk.citizenspace.com*. Responses must be submitted by April 17 2017.