A major report from the British Chambers of Commerce has found that 49% of UK exporters are facing difficulties adapting to new Brexit regulations around the trading of goods.
The survey of 1,000 firms, the majority of which were SMEs, found that firms are struggling with the changes following the ratification of the UK_EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
Key results from the survey included 30% of respondents reporting difficulties adapting to changes in moving or trading goods in the first month of the year. Only 10% said they’d found adapting easy, with another 16% saying it was too early to say (the survey was conducted between 18th and 31st January).
In total, 49% of businesses and 51% of manufacturers reported struggles with increased admin, costs, delays and confusion over the rules and which to follow proving the most common difficulties.
Adam Marshall, BCC director-general, said of the survey results that: “Trading businesses – and the UK’s chances at a strong economic recovery – are being hit hard by changes at the border.
“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.
“This situation could get worse if the UK sticks to its guns and introduces additional SPS checks in April and full customs checks on imports in July. These timescales need to change – and the support available for businesses who are battling to adapt to new trading conditions significantly increased.”
SMEs grants for expert support
To help small firms adapt to the new trading relationship with the EU, many are now eligible for grants of up to £2,000 to help cover the cost of training and professional advice as part of the £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund.
If your business is still working to adapt and change to the new trading relationship with the EU, we can help. Our Brexit FastTrack service can deliver a detailed review of your business post-Brexit to resolve the issues you are encountering.