Three in four UK businesses concerned about failure to secure trade deal with EU, survey finds

2020-08-01 04:03:43 GMT2020-08-01 12:03:43(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Three in four British businesses are concerned about a further economic shock arising from failure to reach a trade deal with its largest trading partner the European Union (EU) by the end of the year, a new survey revealed on Friday.

According to a survey of 752 firms between 25 June and 15 July by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) , one third said they were very concerned by the prospect of exiting the EU without a trade agreement, with 42 percent saying they were moderately concerned.

The survey found that nearly 60 percent business said preparations for the end of the transition period have stalled, while 21 percent reported preparations going backwards since January.

"An ambitious deal with the EU is essential to shield firms from a further trade shock at a time when they are least equipped to cope," said CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn.

"What's clear from this wide-ranging survey is that the majority of firms have neither the time nor resources to prepare for a non-negotiated EU exit. While many larger firms have long had plans in place for a no-deal outcome, smaller firms will struggle to cope with a double dose of disruption. The same is true across the Channel, with EU companies' preparations also hit hard by the pandemic," Fairbairn said.

Post-Brexit trade talks between Britain and the EU started in March, producing limited progress so far with major disagreements on fisheries and fair competition. While talks will drag into August, both sides still hope for a deal in autumn.

Britain departed from the EU on January 31 and entered a 11-month transitional period until the end of this year. If Britain and the EU fail to secure a trade deal before the transitional period expires, both sides will trade under World Trade Organization terms, under which new border controls and tariffs will mean extra cost for their trade.