British businesses 'consider free trade a key priority of Brexit'

Industry News | | MIC Customs Solutions |

British businesses have identified continued access to free trade with the EU as a top priority in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

British businesses are keen to see the UK retain free trade rights and barrier-free access to the European market post-Brexit, according to a new survey.

A poll of more than 1,000 British businesses employing in excess of 100,000 people has been carried out by GS1 UK, with 74 per cent saying they want the government to focus on securing unfettered trade with the EU in the Brexit talks - compared to only six percent who want restrictions on the free movement of people as a key priority.

The report also showed that 49 per cent would accept the UK continuing to make financial contributions to the EU to preserve access for trade, more than the 33 per cent who said they would prefer the money was spent on cutting British taxes.

Moreover, 76 per cent said they viewed a new EU-UK trade deal as more important than a US-UK deal, while 59 per cent are worried about the prospect of EU leaders imposing tariffs on UK trade as a penalty for leaving the bloc.

Elsewhere in the report, it was shown that UK companies are keen to see the country resist the growing wave of protectionism seen in many parts of the world, with 87 per cent saying the government needs to do more to explain the benefits of free trade to the public and only four per cent supporting policies that restrain trade between countries.

Gary Lynch, chief executive officer of GS1 UK, said: "British exporters are keen to put their faces into the wind of international competition and are confident of success, despite the geopolitical challenges of protectionism and Brexit - providing the government gives them the support they need by working towards the elimination of customs duties, lower corporation tax and improved access to export financing."