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LONDON (Reuters) - Top executives at one of the world's largest makers of construction machinery have said Britain could be better off outside the European Union, a contrast with the view of many businesses which favor remaining in the bloc.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who won a surprise majority at a national election earlier this month, has promised to renegotiate the country's relationship with the EU ahead of a membership referendum by the end of 2017.
"We are the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world. We could exist on our own, peacefully and sensibly," Anthony Bamford, head of the family-owned JCB group and a major donor to Cameron's Conservatives, told the BBC.
The company's chief executive, Graeme MacDonald, told the Guardian newspaper he thought it would be better for Britain to leave an unreformed EU.
"I really don’t think it would make a blind bit of difference to trade with Europe. There has been far too much scaremongering about things like jobs. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to stop trade. I don’t think we or Brussels will put up trade barriers," he said.
"What is needed is a lot less red tape and bureaucracy. Some of it is costly for us and quite frankly ridiculous. Whether that means renegotiating or exiting, I don’t think it can carry on as it is. It’s a burden on our business and it’s easier selling to North America than to Europe sometimes."
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by William Schomberg