“Do or die” is a stark choice.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists the UK will leave the European Union at the end of October do or die, come hell or high water. As a result, the government and its agencies are noisily “preparing” for a no deal.

We are assured that a no deal Brexit is not the desired outcome but may be necessary if a new agreement is not struck by 31 October. Essentially, the UK government is now engaged in a hard-staring showdown to see who blinks first. The trouble is, the wellbeing of the UK economy is caught in the middle.

This posturing is just the opposite of what the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, representing over 12,000 businesses across Scotland, called for when Mr Johnson became the Prime Minister.

Instead, with a parliamentary majority of one, the current UK administration gives the impression it is focused on its own survival rather than the needs of its people or its businesses.

In an environment where hard facts are hard to come by, calls for an end to uncertainty and a focus on domestic investment and forging international links are largely falling on deaf ears.

Nevertheless, there are real possibilities emerging that Scottish companies need to grasp with both hands. There is potential for trade deals with the US, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the chance to sign up with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade bloc that includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. The Scottish Chambers of Commerce is working tirelessly with the support of the Scottish Government to work with SMEs to break into new markets, so that we can almost double the value of international exports by 2029.

Mr Johnson’s plans to deploy a fast-track system to attract “the brightest and the best" in the fields of science, engineering and technology to the UK is also welcome because business needs the new government to demonstrate openness to the world. We also want to see a light-touch immigration system that suits regional wage levels and is responsive to Scotland’s lower population growth rate and ensure employers have ongoing access to skills at all levels, with minimal costs, barriers or delays. Clarity on the long-term immigration rules after the UK leaves the EU can’t come soon enough for business.

But while there are some possibilities to look forward to, we could really be doing without a white-knuckle ride to the 31 October deadline. We could do with knowing what happens come 1 November.

Our requests for the new PM are clear:

• Step up government planning and enable business to plan for all scenarios

• Automatic registration for key trade simplifications

• Ensure continuity of trading conditions with third countries

• Clarify intentions on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund – the proposed replacement for EU monies

• Reaffirm commitment to major projects including the third runway at Heathrow airport

Also, last but absolutely not least – avoid a messy Brexit.

These policies could be implemented at speed and would send the strongest possible signals to companies and investors grappling with ongoing uncertainty and change that our government is willing to demonstrate their unequivocal backing for enterprise and growth.

Liz Cameron is chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce.