‘Brexit’ to put $670b of UK trade at risk

The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS -

LON­DON: A Bri­tish de­par­ture from the Euro­pean Union would put at risk 466 bil­lion pounds ($670 bil­lion) of U.K. trade with na­tions in Europe and be­yond, ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished Tues­day by the Cen­tre for Eco­nomic and Busi­ness Re­search. Bri­tain's mem­ber­ship of the bloc gives it "easy" ac­cess to trade with the other 27 mem­ber states, as well as an­other 68 na­tions around the world with which the EU has ne­go­ti­ated agree­ments, the cen­ter said in the re­port. It was pre­pared for the Bri­tain Stronger in Europe group that's cam­paign­ing for the U.K. to re­main an EU mem­ber in a ref­er­en­dum promised by Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron. Cameron aims to com­plete a rene­go­ti­a­tion of the terms of Bri­tain's EU mem­ber­ship at a sum­mit in Brus­sels start­ing Thurs­day and may hold the ref­er­en­dum as soon as June. Cam­paign groups on both sides of the ar­gu­ment are ramp­ing up their rhetoric, with polls show­ing the gap nar­row­ing. A ComRes poll for ITV on Mon­day showed 49 per­cent wish­ing to stay in the EU with 41 per­cent back­ing an exit -- with the gap drop­ping from 18 per­cent­age points last month. Chuka Umunna, a law­maker for the op­po­si­tion Labour Party and its for­mer busi­ness spokesman, is due to ad­dress a busi­ness au­di­ence in Lon­don on Tues­day hosted by Ber­win Leighton Pais­ner LLP, in which he'll urge del­e­gates to look at the trade ben­e­fits EU mem­ber­ship brings. "As suc­cess­ful busi­ness peo­ple, ask your­selves this: Would you sever ties with your big­gest cus­tomer to chase new leads?" Umunna will say, ac­cord­ing to re­marks e-mailed by Bri­tain Stronger in Europe.

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