A business Brexit survey by the North East England Chamber of Commerce showed the majority of firms want to maintain existing trading conditions with the European Union.
Of those who took part, 88% wish to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union in some form.
Over half (52%) of respondents said they wanted to remain in both the Single Market and Customs Union (52%), a further 24% wanted to remain in the Single Market only while 12% wish to remain in the Customs Union only (12%).
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 over 60% 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.”
Last month, Labour MEPs for the North East backed a joint call for the UK to remain in the Single Market.
Paul Brannen MEP commented: “As a manufacturing region, a great proportion of the cars we produce in the North East go to the Single Market. Farmers also benefit greatly from no barriers to trade, as nearly all of our lamb and mutton exports cross the Channel. Losing our membership as a result of Brexit will jeopardise the future of trade nationally and regionally, as well as put thousands of jobs at risk.”
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP added: “Our stance is clear – we reject a hard right Brexit that would put UK trade opportunities at risk and cause serious economic damage. Theresa May won’t be able to click her fingers and replace our membership with a similar trade deal. Negotiations between the EU and Canada took seven years, and primarily covered manufactured goods. Our economy cannot be at a standstill for that long and we need to ensure that the many jobs in our vibrant service industries are not penalised by Brexit.”
What is the Single Market?
Putting it simply, the aim of EU rules is to make it as easy to trade between London and Lisbon as it is between London and Liverpool.
Creating the Single Market (also known as the internal market and, originally, the common market) lies at the heart of the EU.
Single Market rules require the free movement from one EU member country to another of goods, people, services and capital (the so-called ‘four freedoms’).
Those rules take two forms. First, they remove barriers to trade. Second, they harmonise, or unify, national rules at EU level. Read more at Full Fact.