Business groups have stressed the importance of continued frictionless trade with the EU after Dominic Raab used his first overseas trip as foreign secretary to urge UK firms to “raise their game” and focus more on exporting to other regions.
Organisations including the CBI and Make UK, which represents the manufacturing sector, said that while British companies had already expanded to countries across the globe, exports to the EU accounted for almost half of the total.
Raab is due to join a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Bangkok on Wednesday to push for closer trade links with the 10-member bloc.
In comments released in advance, he said UK companies were not being sufficiently ambitious in targeting non-European markets: “For too long, our trade focus has been on Europe. We need to expand our horizons, and raise our game.