Maritime UK, whose members facilitate 95% of UK trade, commissioned a survey of 507 UK business leaders across the UK, finding that despite fears of a no-deal Brexit, businesses are optimistic about future international trade prospects.
The survey found that 63% of business leaders had seen an increase in exports within their companies since Brexit, and that Brexit offered the opportunity to increase international trade.
Of the 507 business leaders polled, more than half (58 per cent) supported the agreement reached by the Cabinet at the recent Chequers summit, which includes a new UK-EU ‘free trade area’ and a commitment to replacing the free movement of people with a ‘mobility framework’.
Welcoming the survey’s publication, David Dingle, Chairman of Maritime UK, said:
“The decision to leave the EU has reignited national debate on trade. As an island, maritime nation, that is to be welcomed.
“Trade is a fundamental piller of Britsh life, and the means by which throughout history we’ve reached across the water to forge relationships and deliver prosperity.
“This is clearly reflected in the survey which found despite fears of a no-deal, our businesses nethertheless relish the prospect of future trade opportunities.
Ben Murray, Director of Maritime UK said:
“Whilst it is critical that we get the right kind of deal with the EU as soon as possible, we should celebrate our business leaders recognising the opportunity for Britain to renew its role as a global trading, maritime nation.
“Whether that’s increased trade with Europe or elsewhere, the prize is the same. More trade equals greater prosperity for the UK and our trading partners.
“As the sector responsible for enabling half a trillion pounds worth of goods each year, some 95% of all imports and exports, we welcome the renewed national focus on trade.”
Maritime UK has called for an extension to the Article 50 processif an agreement between the UK and EU is not in place by October.