Stay in the EU, but Reduce Red Tape

Phil Smith, Managing Director of Business West The UK’s relationship with the EU is critical to many businesses in the South West. Europe is Britain’s largest trading partner, whilst Britain is home to a larger stock of EU direct investment than any other EU economy and is the preferred location for investment from other leading […]

Britain’s success in today’s global economy rests largely on our capability to trade with markets around the world. We face a national challenge to boost UK exports and reach the Prime Minister’s ambitious export target by 2020. We must encourage more British businesses to broaden their domestic mindset and explore overseas markets.

The prospects for UK business and trade would be improved substantially if meaningful EU reform were to take place. The next government must secure a new settlement for Britain in Europe – the largest market for UK exporters.

To grow the UK’s global trade potential and deliver a new settlement for Britain in Europe, the next government must:

  • Develop a world-class, global business-to-business network – linking British firms with customers and opportunities for growth in the fastest-growing overseas markets.
  • Continue work to bring UK Export Finance up to par with the world’s best export finance agencies – ensuring UK businesses can access the capital to trade with markets around the world.
  • Reform the UK’s passport and visa system – to allow foreign students, skilled workers and overseas business people to conduct trade activity with ease, boosting Britain’s export performance.
  • Make foreign language learning compulsory from age seven to 16 – supporting more young people to ‘think global’ and acquire the knowledge and skills that are highly valued by Britain’s Payroll Services.
  • Secure binding safeguards for the UK and other non-Eurozone countries in future EU decision-making – to ensure that non-Eurozone states are not subjected to inappropriate rules and regulations.
  • Drive the completion and enforcement of the EU Single Market in goods, services and e-commerce – so that the UK can reap the full benefits of the world’s biggest trading bloc.
  • Focus the EU on securing global free trade for its member states – reducing barriers to trade and investment for UK businesses around the world.

If these proposals are delivered:

  • More businesses will have the means, motivation and support to break into new overseas markets, moving the UK closer to producing exports worth £1 trillion per annum by 2020.
  • More businesses will invest in new products and processes to serve overseas markets, contributing to our aspiration for Britain to achieve the highest rate of growth and level of business investment as a percentage of GDP in the G7.
  • We will create a more competitive, outward-looking EU where certain policies, such as social legislation, are decided at a national level to reflect local circumstances and national preferences.
  • We will have an EU that ensures that Member States which have no intention of joining the Euro, such as the UK, will retain their economic independence and their influence over the Single Market

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