Small firms call for swift progress on ambitious deal as EU-UK talks intensify

Small firms call for swift progress on ambitious deal as EU-UK talks intensify

Responding to the launch of the latest round of trade talks between the European Union and United Kingdom, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry said:

“Four years on from the referendum, small firms are desperate to know what our future relationship with the EU will look like.

“As we emerge from this recession, businesses are hoping to see swift progress as talks intensify in the coming weeks. It’s been encouraging to hear negotiators stress that they are pushing for an ambitious deal.  

“The mechanisms that small firms need to trade successfully – simplified import and export paperwork, support with ecommerce, help with protecting intellectual property rights, measures to enable mobility of staff, and recognition of professional qualifications – should be threaded throughout this and all future free trade agreements. 

“We are also keen to see the introduction of a Small Business Chapter explicitly outlining measures to protect and promote the small firms that make-up 99% of our business community. The UK has said it wants to see a Small Business Chapter in the US-UK deal. We need to see them doing likewise where the EU deal is concerned.

“Our research shows that SMEs don’t tend to get the most out of FTAs because they find them difficult to navigate. The first step is an ambitious EU-UK FTA that has the needs of our 5.8 million small businesses considered throughout. The second is to ensure they have the resources and in-person support needed to fully benefit from it.

“And of course the infrastructure needs to be there. Whatever changes do come in, we need to know that HMRC, our ports and travel networks are in the right place to handle them.  

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