A business Brexit survey by the North East England Chamber of Commerce showed the majority of firms want to maintain existing trading conditions with the EU.
Of those who took part 88% wish to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union in some form.
Over half (52%) of respondents said they wanted to remain in both the Single Market and Customs Union (52%), a further 24% wanted to remain in the Single Market only while 12% wish to remain in the Customs Union only (12%).
Jonathan Walker, North East England Chamber of Commerce head of policy and campaigns said: “Since last year’s referendum we have been strongly urging Government to put business views and concerns at the heart of their negotiations.
“In a region where over 60% of exports head to the EU, it is unsurprising that businesses want to continue to enjoy frictionless trade with European customers. The Government must ensure that the Brexit negotiations deliver an outcome that protects our ability to trade with our biggest markets.”
Stephen Gallagher, marketing manager of Chamber Member Canford Audio based in Washington commented: Our own sentiments echo the findings of the Chamber survey. We aim to provide our international customers with service levels of an equally high standard, matching those enjoyed by our domestic clients. The nature of our customers’ businesses can often lead to urgent product requirements. We’d naturally hope to remain within the single market, with confidence that our movement of goods into Europe goes largely unchanged. Leaving the single market would bring with it additional administration, and the potential for costly delays. We are actively developing our relationships with European customers and have a team set to travel to Germany next week to further our strategic goal to improve our overseas business.”
The survey also examined business views on the conduct of the Brexit negotiations. Over half (53%) of respondents supported the idea that the UK’s Brexit objectives should be revisited following the General Election.
In terms of transition to new trading arrangements with the EU, 40% wished to see a transition period of three years following the end of the negotiations in March 2019, with 20% wishing to see a period of more than three years. However, 21% indicated that they did not want to see any transitional period following Brexit.
Based on member feedback, The Chamber of Commerce has set out its main priorities for North East England in the EU negotiations:
- A new trading relationship with the EU that gives our exporters frictionless and un-bureaucratic access to European markets.
- A fair migration system that allows North East businesses to compete for global talent to support growth aspirations.
- An emphasis on economic partnerships and collaboration with countries across the globe which focuses on the business community and innovation.
- A commitment to ensure that the North East does not suffer from the withdrawal of EU development funding, which supports vital economic and social investment.
- A positive and consultative approach to Brexit that causes minimum disruption to business interests, particularly for those who trade overseas.