THE Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says the UK needs to keep its place within the European Union to push for freer trade for its businesses.
The business lobby group says the UK should use the EU to help rebalance the economy towards exports and create new trade deals.
It is pushing for a new free trade deal between Europe and the US.
The CBI says although the EU and US have relatively open economies, there are many examples of obstacles to trade.
These include tariff costs and mismatched regulations, which form what it says are significant burdens on firms on both sides of the Atlantic.
It is undertaking a major project to flesh out what the UK's global role should look like in a new Europe.
It wants to explore ways in which the UK can remain a leading location to do business globally, particularly by expanding export markets for high-growth small and medium-sized firms, without losing access to the EU single market.