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Business wants maximum access to EU markets - survey

By Sean Farrell

Date: Wednesday 26 Feb 2020

Business wants maximum access to EU markets - survey

(Sharecast News) - The UK government should seek maximum access to EU markets when it sets out its position for trade talks, a survey of business leaders said.
Two-thirds of UK company directors surveyed by the Institute of Directors said EU market access was important to their business and eight in 10 thought access was important for the economy.

Respondents favoured by almost two to one regulatory alignment over divergence, the business organisation said. Securing labour mobility after Brexit was directors' top priority though rules will change significantly.

The IoD said directors from small and large businesses had the same view of the importance of EU market access. Only a quarter of respondents said there was enough time for the UK to negotiate a satisfactory new relationship and for businesses to adjust by January 2021.

Allie Renison, head of Europe and trade policy at the IoD, said: "The government has set out clear political guiding lines for the Brexit negotiations. Within these, it has to be ambitious in pursuing the space where market access can be maximised for businesses. Adjustment is inevitable, but it has to be delivered in a balanced way, with cooperation on implementation to ensure any changes are sustainable."

Renison called on the government to work with businesses on the details of its plans because some companies need alignment more than others. If the government fails to get the right trade deal with the EU the supposed benefits of "global Britain" will not materialise, she said.

The government is taking a tough position on trade talks, which must finish in time for ratification by the 27 EU countries by the end of 2021. Boris Johnson's Brexit negotiator David Frost said on 17 February that freedom from EU rules was a fundamental part of Brexit and "the point of the whole project".

The IoD questioned 938 company directors between 31 January and 18 February.


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