63% of smaller businesses in the UK prioritise trading in EU markets while one in five small exporters trade exclusively with the EU, according to new research by the Federation of Small Businesses.
More than a quarter of Scottish businesses currently exporting say the introduction of tariffs of any nature would deter them from trading with the EU.
Andy Willox, the FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, has said that the EU market is regarded as a training ground for many first-time exporters with global ambitions, and “frictionless cross-border trade” with the EU is necessary if we want to increase Scottish exports.
Commenting, Stuart McMillan MSP, member of Holyrood’s Europe committee said:
“These findings demonstrate just how important open trading with the EU is for our small businesses and our economy, and the huge risk the Tories are taking by tearing us out of the world’s biggest single market, which is around eight times bigger than the UK’s alone.
“This research shows that it’s both easier and cheaper for most small UK firms to trade with the EU than other markets, and if any tariffs at all were imposed on small exporters in Scotland then huge numbers would be discouraged from trading with Europe. That would be disastrous for our businesses and our economy.
“Our European neighbours are logically the first port of call for most exporters and importers in Scotland, and yet the Tories have chosen the least sensible option of a chaotic and senseless hard Brexit that will put barriers in the way of vital EU trade and impose prohibitive WTO tariffs on trade.
“With the Tories determined to drag us out of Europe against our will, people in Scotland must be given the choice to change course while we still can.”