A survey has found that more than a quarter of small businesses would stop selling to the Continent
SMALL firms will suffer the most if tariffs are slapped on EU imports and exports after Brexit, ministers are warned today.
A survey by the Federation of Small Business found more than a quarter of small companies would stop selling goods to the Continent if levies were introduced after Brexit.
And the figure rose to a third if tariffs of between 2 and 4 per cent were introduced, which the FSB said was the range the EU’s average applied tariff has fallen in recently.
They want the Government to agree an interim deal with Brussels to avoid facing a “cliff edge” after Brexit.
FSB chair Mike Cherry tells Theresa May: “Compared to larger companies, small businesses typically work to tighter margins with limited resources, meaning changes to the trading landscape will hit them disproportionately hard.
“We call on the Government to ensure that a sensible phased implementation arrangement is put in place to avoid a cliff edge, once we have left the EU.
“The impact of potential tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade with the EU is shown to be a real concern for small businesses trading overseas, at the very time that the UK economy can least afford to see a slowdown in exports.
“FSB calls on the Government to secure the easiest and least costly access to the EU single market in the Brexit negotiations.
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“This includes a new customs arrangement with the EU that allows for frictionless cross-border trade.”
A government spokeswoman said: “The Government has been clear that we want to deliver an outcome that is good for all parts of the UK and to ensure that Britain remains the best place in Europe to run and grow a business of any size.
“And as a result of our many conversations with businesses up and down the country, we are pursuing a bold and ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union that allows for the freest possible trade in goods and services.
“On top of that, leaving the EU will present us with a unique opportunity to strike trade agreements with countries across the rest of the world as we build a truly Global Britain.
“We will continue to make the necessary preparations to ensure the least possible disruption for UK businesses and our trading partners.”