Helen Deeble CBE, President of the UK Chamber of Shipping, last night commented on the UK's membership of the EU during her speech at the Annual Dinner last night (4 February 2013). The full text of the speech is available to download. Shipping Minister Stephen Hammond also spoke at the event and endorsed the UK Chamber's long-running campaign to establish a cross-departmental maritime strategy. Helen Deeble commented:
“It is helpful that we are already a member of the largest trading bloc in the world. Now, we all know from our personal and professional lives that the European Union is not perfect. Far from it!
“The EU’s relentless tendency to over-regulate can often create burden without benefit. But the single market has allowed for unprecedented growth in trade, and we in the shipping community must pay close attention as Mr Cameron sets course for 2015 and a possible in-out referendum in 2017. Although this provides some clarity around timing it also creates huge uncertainty for the next five years and uncertainty is the enemy of business.
“I don’t know what will happen if we leave the EU. I suspect neither do the politicians. But what we do know is that to isolate ourselves, at a time when others are forging new alliances, is a huge risk to take.”
The UK Chamber's Annual Dinner is usually in early February and is attended by around 600 members and other guests.