EU has grown faster as market for UK exports than Asia and US since Brexit vote, say company directors

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The EU has grown more strongly as a market for UK exporters than either Asia or North America over the past two years, a new survey suggests.

The EU has been the biggest source of growth for 43 per cent of company bosses surveyed by the Institute of Directors. Just 21 per cent pointed to North America, with the same proportion also citing Asia. 

Though business leaders said they see potential in Asia and America over the next 5 years, the EU remains the region with the highest expectations for growth, the poll of almost 800 directors found. 

Business leaders said the best government facilitator for trade is agreements which reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers with third countries.

The IoD urged the Government to use the next 18 months heading into Brexit transition to consult on and develop a comprehensive trade agenda for the medium term that successive governments can follow through. 

Allie Renison, Head of Europe & Trade Policy at the Institute of Directors, said: “The importance of the EU as a growth market for IoD members combined with the clear advantage that business leaders see in new trade agreements shows just how eager businesses are to embrace global Britain. 

“Our members are already showing the strength of British business on the world stage, but the statistics also show that we need to get real about trade, and fast. 

“Going global is as much about opportunities in Europe as it is further afield, and this should be reflected in how the Government shapes post-Brexit Britain.

“Businesses will always be those on the frontline of international trade, if the Government is to fulfil its global promise, it has to engage with the business community to ensure they feel adequately supported in the coming years.”

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