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15 August 2017

FSB NI: Interim deal would give local small businesses time to prepare

RESPONDING to the UK Government's paper on the customs union due to be published today (Tuesday 15th August), Wilfred Mitchell OBE, FSB Northern Ireland Policy Chair, said:

"Today's commitment from the government would give small businesses the time they need to prepare for new customs arrangements, which is very welcome. But it is essential that this interim deal is negotiated as soon as possible with the EU Commission, to give businesses the certainty to keep investing in the UK.

“FSB also welcome the aspiration that negotiation on Free Trade Agreements globally will be able to begin once we have left the EU. Whilst 63% of our small businesses would prioritise an FTA with the EU, 49% would prioritise an FTA with the US and 28% with China.

"Beyond the interim period it is essential that new customs arrangements achieve the most frictionless trade with local small businesses as possible. Our research shows that non-tariff barriers are just as important as tariff barriers in determining where small businesses export to. Engagement with small businesses is essential to develop a new customs relationship with the EU that enhances trade and successfully capitalises upon the opportunities offered by digital technology."

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