Half of exporters are struggling with changes in the trade of goods since the start of the year, according to new research from the British Chambers of Commerce.
Concerns include increased administration, costs, delays, and confusion about which rules to follow.
Commenting, Best for Britain CEO Naomi Smith said:
‘The BCC doesn’t mince its words – it says this fiasco is an “existential threat” to some businesses. Yet the Government’s mealy-mouthed response is to say border disruption is “minimal”.
‘The Government’s preparation for these challenges has been abysmal, its response to the unfolding disaster for businesses has been woeful and, worst of all, if it fails to act now, the situation could become even worse in April and July, when further bureaucracy is introduced.
‘British businesses are being strangled by red tape, and the Government seems intent on pulling it tighter.’
What did the BCC survey of businesses find?
Overall, around a third of respondents (30%) reported difficulties adapting to changes to moving or trading goods in the first month of the year, while 10% said they had found adapting to the changes easy. 45% said trade in goods was not applicable to their business, and 16% said it was too early to say.
The percentage facing difficulties in adapting to changes in trading goods rose for exporters, where half (49%) reported issues, as well as manufacturers, where the percentage facing difficulties was more than half (51%).
Find out more about the research here.
BCC Director General Adam Marshall said:
“The late agreement of a UK-EU trade deal left businesses in the dark on the detail right until the last minute, so it’s unsurprising to see that so many businesses are now experiencing practical difficulties on the ground as the new arrangements go live.
“For some firms these concerns are existential, and go well beyond mere ‘teething problems’. It should not be the case that companies simply have to give up on selling their goods and services into the EU. Ministers must do everything they can to fix the problems that are within the UK’s own control, and increase their outreach to EU counterparts to solve the knotty issues that are stifling trade in both directions.
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