Working in a country that’s a member of the European Union (EU) provides many benefits to a company such as Cherryleaf. It’s been straightforward for us to work with customers in France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands and elsewhere. We’ve also found it easy to hire freelancers who have been based in France and Spain.
In comparison, it’s harder for us to trade with companies based in the USA. We can deliver training and other services over the Web, but there are many barriers to doing work physically in the States. The USA requires a valid working visa, which is challenging and time consuming to obtain. In the EU, we can pass through immigration and customs in little time at all, whereas in the USA, the queueing, questioning and fingerprint scanning can take hours.
The single European market means that we can trade in a market of over 503 million people, rather than just the 64 million in the UK. If the country were outside of the EU, it would take 27 new trade agreements to be negotiated just to get back to the position it is in today.
People may complain that the EU sets rules for how much meat is in a sausage, or the type of electric adapter for battery powered cars, but somebody has to set the ground rules for doing business. Our UK customers know that if they have to create products that conform to a certain standard, their overseas competitors have to do the same, too. The rules and standards are going to be set whether the UK is in the EU or not. The difference is that those who are members of the EU have a say in setting those rules.
Barriers that have been removed are easy to forget, because they are not there. It’s important to remember, from time to time, the benefits to companies such ourselves of the UK being a member of the EU.