Dominic Raab advises UK firms to raise their game and think beyond Europe

Britain’s business community has been growing anxious as the date of UK’s departure from the European Union is coming closer. Recently, many business lobbies also urged the government against the disorderly exit from the EU, as it would cost them huge amounts of money and lead to the withdrawal of the investment flowing in from European nations.

In order to infuse confidence into UK firms for no-deal, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, asked them to raise their game and work towards exploring business opportunities out and beyond EU.

In a recent interview he sent a message to UK companies to turn ambitious and target non-European markets: “For too long, our trade focus has been on Europe. We need to expand our horizons, and raise our game.

“That means grasping the enormous global opportunities for the UK – and my first trip as foreign secretary will look to strengthen our friendships across Asia.”

Britain has to exit the 28-nation bloc on 31 October. The business organisations justify their worry claiming that the British community, comprising Confederation of British Industry and Make the UK, which heavily relies on the manufacturing sector, already have partners and presence across the globe. Their presence abroad cannot beat trade ties with EU as the country’s exports to the EU comprise of more than half of the total. Its bilateral trade with the EU is worth £36 billion annually.

In a reply to Raab business advise, a CBI spokesman said, “We cannot forget, however, that the European Union is our closest trading partner, with 45% of UK exports heading to the continent. The absolute top priority for firms is to secure a good trade deal with the EU, with frictionless trade for goods and ambitious access for our world-beating services sector.”

Ben Fletcher, Policy head of Make UK sent a similar messaging. He said: “We trade globally already, and there isn’t a country in the world where British manufacturing isn’t exporting to.

“We get help from the government on expanding exports, but in some cases, even more, intelligence from the Foreign Office about big projects or new markets would be incredibly useful.”

Claire Walker, co-executive director of the British Chambers of Commerce said, “The 31 October deadline is fast approaching and businesses are being told to prepare for no-deal, but there are still significant areas where there is simply little basis on which to plan.”

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