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Small businesses fear falling exports because of Brexit, says new research

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About a third of all small British companies who export their goods and services expect their overseas business to fall because of Brexit, according to research conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Last June, in a referendum result that shocked many, U.K. voters decided to leave the European Union (EU). On Wednesday, the FSB published its initial findings from a six-month research program looking at the "business impact" of that decision.

The U.K. government has said it will invoke Article 50 by the end of March this year, triggering the formal process of leaving the EU and all negotiations associated with it. These negotiations, according to the government, could take two years or longer.

The FSB said that 32 percent of small businesses are involved in overseas trade – either as an importer, exporter or both – and that the "vast majority" traded with the EU's single market.

The FSB added that 29 percent of small firms involved in exports said that they expected their exports to decline, regardless of destination, while 20 percent felt their exports would increase. Forty-two percent of small exporters said they expected "very little or no change."

"Small business exports have been on the rise since the referendum with the lower value of the pound making UK goods and services more competitive," the FSB's national chairman, Mike Cherry, said in a statement.

"We know that our members who export are more likely to survive, innovate and grow," Cherry added.

"As the UK leaves the single market any new agreement must maintain the current ease of trade with the EU and not lead to additional administrative or financial burdens."

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