LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Just 6% of British businesses want the government to prioritise curbing immigration during the Brexit negotiations while 74% want the government to focus on securing barrier-free trade with the EU.
The findings are included in a report on the impact Brexit and the return of protectionism will have on trade, commissioned by GS1 UK, a not-for-profit organisation that licenses barcodes. The findings are based on a survey of more than 1,000 businesses, employing approximately 100,000 people.
Theresa May has said it may be possible to preserve some of our access to the single market – even if that means Britain continuing to make financial contributions to the EU. When GS1 UK asked businesses, 49% said they would prefer the UK to continue making financial contributions to the EU to preserve access for trade while just a third (33%) said they would prefer the money was spent on cutting taxes here in the UK.
The report also found 59% of businesses are worried EU leaders will impose tariffs on UK trade as a penalty for leaving to the EU. The poll suggested businesses are not reassured by arguments suggesting Brexit will work because the EU needs it to – that tariffs cut both ways and that no matter what happens, Germany will still want to sell its cars to Britain, as will France its wine.
When polled on their preference for a new trade deal: 76% of business said an EU/UK deal was more important than a US/UK deal.
Gary Lynch, CEO of GS1 UK says: “In the Brexit negotiations, business is clear: gaining access to the single market for British exports should take priority over rolling back the free movement of people. And if we have to pay for access to the EU, then so be it. A trade deal with the EU is even more important to British businesses than a deal with the US.”
The research found that, in the face of a growing wave of protectionism, the vast majority of British businesses (87%) believe the Government needs to do more to explain the benefits of free trade to the public. Only 4% of the businesses polled supported protectionist policies.
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