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UK Still Doesn’t Have A Post-Brexit Trade Plan

The U.K. government is facing criticism after reports surfaced that a long-awaited report on the nation’s trade plans for Brexit may never come to light.

According to the Financial Times on Monday (Jan. 22), top City of London officials were assured they would receive a report from the Department for Exiting the EU (Dexeu) about trade goals, but following a delay of that paper, reports now say it may never be released at all. The publication cited unnamed government officials and business executives who noted the government still cannot come to a consensus on its position in negotiations with the European Commission.

In response, the Dexeu said it would “keep under review what is the best way for advocating our position — be that in private discussions with the EU, speeches or a formal position paper.”

“For the government, a whole year after triggering Article 50, not to have published an outline of where they expect to be in negotiating on behalf of such an important part of the economy is a problem,” stated Nicky Morgan, Tory member of parliament (MP) and chair of the Commons Treasury Committee.

While the U.K. continues to struggle with securing a trade deal post-Brexit, separate reports also released Monday said small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Britain could be headed for a rocky road.

New data from the universities of Essex and St. Andrews found SMBs are likely to be most affected by the effects of uncertainty linked to Brexit, which could result in reduced capital investment, less access to financing, diminished growth levels and other impacts.

“In other words, firms thought to be the most significant for boosting productivity and economic growth may be most negatively affected by Brexit,” the report concluded.

“The results of our analysis suggest that Brexit-related concerns could result in a range of negative consequences for U.K. [SMBs], especially the impact on reduced capital investment, which critically weakens and undermines their ability to grow and prosper,” explained Ross Brown, Ph.D., reader in entrepreneurship and small business finance at the University of St. Andrews, according to the Yorkshire Post.


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