No trade deal? No way!
Just 2% of more than 2400 companies think that leaving the EU without a trade deal should be a realistic option for the UK’s Brexit negotiators.
Responses to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) reveal that remaining in the Single Market and Customs Union is still the most popular option, with 34% of those surveyed supporting it.
Achieving a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and a customs agreement was favoured by 28% of respondents, while 13% supported remaining in the Customs Union only, and 11% wanted to stay just in the Single Market.
As mentioned above, the option of the UK leaving the Single Market and Customs Union and rely on World Trade Organization (WTO) rules for trade was supported by just 2% of the 2422 businesses interviewed.
Participants were also asked about a transition period — specifically which of the following options would be best for their business: a transition period of three years (supported by 46%); a transition period of longer than three years (22%) or no transition period (17%).
Giving his view on the findings, Dr Adam Marshall of the BCC said that, while they make it clear that there are a range of business views on what the UK should be seeking in a final deal with the EU, “there is near-universal consensus that a deep and comprehensive agreement is needed”.
Coming away with no deal is not seen as a viable option, he added, as businesses want a pragmatic settlement on the practical, real-world issues that affect their operations, not arbitrary political red lines.
Getting transition arrangements on the negotiations agenda as quickly as possible would give businesses the confidence to press ahead with investment decisions, Mr Marshall suggested.