The survey also revealed that 58 per cent of all UK businesses have been unaffected by Brexit, while 62 per cent said “free trade agreements are important to growing profits in the future”.
The post-Brexit trade deal sees zero tariffs on goods traded between the UK and EU, however companies now have to fill out lengthy customs declarations.
HSBC head of international trade Ian Tandy MBE said: “The end of the transition period coupled with the third national lockdown has presented a challenging start to the year for businesses who are desperate to start executing strategies to recover.
“It’s testament to the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of UK businesses that this research shows they have not been deterred by economic uncertainty and are planning for growth this year.
“The message from businesses is that Government needs to continue to deliver trade deals with new markets to help firms reach their growth targets through 2021 and beyond.”
It comes as the UK yesterday asked the EU for a grace period extension until 2023 on checks made on trade moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has written to the European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic to ask for urgent “political solutions” to ensure the smooth transport of chilled meats, mail and medicines between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.