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East of England could lose millions in no deal Brexit scenario

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, prepares to shake hands with British Prime Minister Theresa May, left.(AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, file)

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, prepares to shake hands with British Prime Minister Theresa May, left.(AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, file)

The East of England economy would suffer a multi-million pound blow in the event of a no deal Brexit, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has revealed.

In the East of England, exports to countries with EU free trade agreements are worth more than £4bn every year, accounting for more than 10% of the region’s exports.

This figure equates to the annual salaries of more than 114,000 teachers.

Furthermore through these agreements, the East of England exports goods worth £570m to Turkey and £350m to Canada each year, with the machinery/transport and chemicals/pharmaceuticals sectors among the most exposed.

Richard Tunnicliffe, CBI East of England regional director, said: “If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, overnight businesses in the East of England could cease to enjoy the benefits of tariff-free trade with, and easy access to, crucial markets for products and services, from Canada to South Korea.

“Many firms are unaware it is not just their relationships with EU customers at risk from a no deal Brexit, but relationships across the globe.

“Individual businesses trading with markets outside the EU would face tariffs worth millions of pounds being slapped on them instantaneously. These trade deals span five continents and are vital for the smooth export of our goods and services.”

He continued: “Exports to countries with EU free trade agreements are worth more than £4bn to the East of England every year. The risk to these deals is an overlooked danger to our economy and yet another reason why no deal is not an option for the UK and jeopardises jobs in our communities.

“It is vital compromise is shown on both sides of the Channel and politicians work quickly to come to a deal.”

The CBI has estimated the total amount of global GDP covered by the EU and the countries it has trade agreements with to be at 37%.

However some Norfolk MPs are adamant that a no deal Brexit will not be onthe table. Sir Henry Bellingham, MP for North West Norfolk, said: “I expect the Prime Minister will be working flat out with both her EU counterparts and the Commission – with a view to securing some significant concessions on the backstop. Personally I am reasonably optimistic that she will be able to then get it through Parliament.”

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