Call for ‘smooth Brexit’ from manufacturing firms concerned about trade

A manufacturing group has called for the government to pursue a trade focused Brexit. Picture: PA/An

A manufacturing group has called for the government to pursue a trade focused Brexit. Picture: PA/Andrew Milligan - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Access to the single market should be put firmly back on the agenda following the General Election result or work could be lost to other countries, a business group is urging.

The EEF, which represents 20,000 manufacturing firms, said that unless a more pro-business stance is taken in Brexit negotiations, companies could be forced to switch business plans away from the UK.

Almost one in four manufacturers were already reviewing their business strategy before last week's election, said the EEF.

Chief executive Terry Scuoler said: 'The new government's priorities must radically re-focus Brexit negotiations around trade and close co-operation ensuring a smooth exit from the EU.

'There are numerous ways of establishing a new relationship with the EU and, given we've just wasted a year, the Government needs to move away from its previous rhetoric and start repairing relations with EU partners.

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'This means putting access to the single market and a form of customs union at the heart of a revised strategy.

'The UK can surely manage who is and who is not in the country by introducing a more effective and robust form of immigration control which maintains the rights of EU citizens and UK citizens across Europe.

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'With less than two years to negotiate a meaningful deal, the government should commit to a significant period of transition to manage uncertainty for businesses and bolster confidence.'

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