A business Brexit survey by the North East England Chamber of Commerce released this week showed the majority of firms want to maintain existing trading conditions with the EU.
Of those who took part, 88 per cent wish to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union in some form. More than half (52 percent) of respondents said they wanted to remain in both the Single Market and Customs Union, a further 24 por cent wanted to remain in the Single Market only while 12 per cent wish to remain in the Customs Union only.
Jonathan Walker, North East England Chamber of Commerce head of policy and campaigns, said: "Since last year’s referendum, we have been strongly urging Government to put business views and concerns at the heart of their negotiations.
"In a region where more than 60 per cent of exports head to the EU, it is unsurprising that businesses want to continue to enjoy frictionless trade with European customers. The Government must ensure that the Brexit negotiations deliver an outcome that protects our ability to trade with our biggest markets."
The survey also examined business views on the conduct of the Brexit negotiations. More than half (53 per cent) of respondents supported the idea that the UK’s Brexit objectives should be revisited following the General Election.
In terms of transition to new trading arrangements with the EU, 40 per cent wished to see a transition period of three years following the end of the negotiations in March 2019, with 20 per cent wishing to see a period of more than three years. However, 21 per cent indicated that they did not want to see any transitional period following Brexit.
Based on member feedback, the Chamber has set out its main priorities for the North East in the EU negotiations:
A new trading relationship with the EU that gives our exporters frictionless and unbureaucratic access to European markets.
A fair migration system that allows North-East businesses to compete for global talent to support growth aspirations.
An emphasis on economic partnerships and collaboration with countries across the globe which focuses on the business community and innovation.
A commitment to ensure that the North East does not suffer from the withdrawal of EU development funding, which supports vital economic and social investment.
A positive and consultative approach to Brexit that causes minimum disruption to business interests, particularly for those who trade overseas.