New West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has met the region's two Conservative MEPs to discuss how to continue to attract key funding and inward investment throughout the Brexit process and beyond.
Anthea McIntyre and Dan Dalton congratulated Andy on his election and pledged to do all they could to ensure that the West Midlands experienced a smooth transition through the UK's departure from the EU. They agreed it was vital that the region continued to attract large-scale direct foreign investment and remained able to sell goods abroad without unnecessary barriers.
The meeting came hot on the heels of an analysis by Financial Services firm EY, showing that the region secured a record 111 foreign direct investment projects in 2016, with over 50 per cent coming from the manufacturing sector.
It was the latest in series of reports indicating the current strength of the region's pull as a magnet for investment and the continued power and growth of its manufacturing base. It showed that Birmingham, Coventryand Solihull led the way, but other districts all played their part.
In a joint statement after the meeting Mr Dalton and Miss McIntyre said: "These investors could choose anywhere in the world to site their factories and offices. That fact they chose us speaks volumes for our 'can do' attitude, our flexibility, and our skilled and diligent workforce.
"It is also true that our region received substantial EU investment in infrastructure and funding for research and development.
"Our challenge is to ensure that this support does not suddenly disappear as we leave the EU. We also must help prevent our key exporters, including the automotive sector, being hit by tariffs or other barriers when they continue to sell to Europe.
"We will be in the West Midlands' corner, working in harness with Andy, as these negotiations take shape."
Mr Street said: "Our MEPs do a vital job promoting the interests of the people of the West Midlands out there in Brussels and Strasbourg.
"I look forward to working with them to make sure our region gets the best possible outcome from Brexit and that the West Midlands Engine continues to drive investment, innovation, exports and jobs."
- Picture: (left to right) Daniel Dalton and Anthea McIntyre discuss Brexit challenges with Andy Street