By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A British diplomat has updated local business leaders with ties to the U.K. about the status of Brexit negotiations during an appearance before the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia.

The break from the European Union is due to occur in March 2019.

After Mayor Jim Kenney welcomed Her Majesty’s Consul General in New York, Antony Phillipson told the business leaders that the breakup will create a “partnership with the E.U. to reflect the kind of mature, cooperative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy.”

“And it’s one that will deliver prosperity and security for the people of the U.K., as well as the people of the EU in the future,” Phillipson said.

The U.K., last year, voted to leave the E.U. and is now locked in complex talks with the more than two dozen other members of the bloc about how the divorce will unfold.

“There is a European Council meeting next week where we hope to reach this agreement on sufficient progress on phase one of the withdrawal, and move into talks on phase two,” said Phillipson.

img 9868 Philly Businesses Receive Brexit Update

Businesses in Philadelphia got an update on Britain’s Brexit process. (credit: Steve Tawa)

In a side interview, we asked about bumps in the road.

“It’s very fluid. It’s an ongoing negotiation. The prime minister and her colleagues are engaging on this now with the Commission as we speak,” Phillipson said. “We need to reach financial settlement. We need to reach agreement on the treatment of E.U. citizens in the U.K. and vice versa, and we need to reach agreement on how we deal with issues around the border in Ireland.”

Northern Ireland is set to leave with the U.K., but the Irish Republic remains in the E.U.

The clever headlines in the U.K. scream about the discord between what Britons call anti-Brexit “remainers,” and “leavers.”

One paper dubbed some of them “Re-Leavers” because they’ve come round to the belief that the government must deliver Brexit. Another poll showed “‘Bregret’ Is On The Rise,” that in hindsight, the U.K. voting to leave the E.U. was a bad idea.

The U.K. is the number one European market for Pennsylvania exports; there are more than 1550 U.K.-owned companies that provide more than 53,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.

Some of the larger British employers in Philadelphia include Almac Group, Aberdeen International, AstraZeneca, Bartlett and Company, British Airways, GlaxoSmithKline, HSBC, and Virgin Atlantic.

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