// UK businesses at a competitive disadvantage after Brexit trade deal
// 71% businesses said the European Union trade deal is not allowing them to grow
New research has found that UK businesses are facing a competitive disadvantage as the Brexit trade deal increases costs, paperwork and delays.
The British Chambers of Commerce found in a survey of more than 1000 businesses that 71% said the European Union trade deal is not allowing them to grow or increase sales.
The report revealed that only 1 in 8 exporters think the deal is helping them grow or increase sales.
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Overall, just 8% of firms agreed that the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) between the UK and Europe has “enabled their business to grow or increase sales”. Meanwhile, 54% disagreed. For UK exporters 12% agreed that the TCA was helping them while 71% disagreed.
The British Chambers of Commerce has called for “urgent steps” to address issues with UK’s trade deal with Europe so the UK government’s ambition to increase the number of firms exporting can be met.
The British Chambers of Commerce has listed five steps that UK and EU policymakers could make to “ease the burden placed on businesses struggling with the trade deal”.
This includes the introduction of a supplementary trade deal to exempt smaller firms and to prioritise side deals to address concerns that the deal has placed limitations on business travel and work activities of UK businesses in the EU.
“Nearly all of the businesses in this research have fewer than 250 employees and these smaller firms are feeling most of the pain of the new burdens in the TCA,” The British Chambers of Commerce head of trade policy, William Bain said.
“Many of these companies have neither the time, staff or money to deal with the additional paperwork and rising costs involved with EU trade, nor can they afford to set up a new base in Europe or pay for intermediaries to represent them.
“But if both sides take a pragmatic approach, they could reach a new understanding on the rules and then build on that further.”