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FRONT COVER The Department for International Trade (DIT) is supportingfirst-time regional exporters. See page 15

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Business West Insight is produced on behalf of Business West by Kemps Publishing Ltd and is distributed without charge throughout the South West of England. The publisher is committed to achieving the highest quality standards. However, views expressed in the magazine are independent and while every care has been taken to ensure that the information it contains is accurate, the publisher cannot accept any responsibility for any omission or inaccuracies that might arise. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic format without the prior written permission of Kemps Publishing Ltd.

he UK has had a turbulent few months: we've chosen to leave the European Union, have lost a Prime Minister and have seen the

Government ditch its main fiscal rule on deficit reduction. The pace and scale of change has been unnerving, and there is still substantial uncertainty about what comes next. So it's hardly surprising that businesses rank the uncertainty that stems from the referendum as the biggest future barrier to growth. The release of the key findings from the our Q3

Local Business Survey on Brexit have coincided with the timely announcement that Article 50 will be triggered in March of next year. Based on a survey sample of 550 small, medium and large-sized businesses throughout the South West, and a question set that focused on the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, a number of negotiating priorities have emerged as significant to the long-term health of UK businesses, each of which point to fears over the UK’s potential withdrawal from the EU customs union. The survey demonstrated overwhelming support among South West businesses for remaining a member of the customs union, which allows businesses to trade freely across the continent. Negotiations to leave the EU are set to start in 2017. Making major investment decisions in this environment is tough, but it is encouraging

‘Business West is telling firms to ‘make hay whilst the sun shines’ as access to Europe remains easy as long as we are still in the EU’

to see local companies anticipating export opportunities in the coming months, not least to the EU itself. Business West is telling firms to ‘make hay whilst the sun shines’, as access to Europe remains easy as long as we are still in the EU. Now is the time to reach out to clients and customers internationally to reassure them that we are still in business and capitalise on our more competitive advantage following the devaluation of the pound. Whatever vagaries trading with Europe may have in the future, we at Business West

are confident we can guide businessesses through the process. We are currently working with clients to help them trade with countries far more challenging that we can ever envisage the EU to be.


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 insight 3

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