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UK exporters don’t understand principles of trade digitalisation

The majority of exporters in the UK don’t understand the principles behind the government’s future plans to digitise international trade. 

According to a poll during an IOE&IT webinar last month, just 13% of participants on the call understood key terms to do with the digitisation strategy, including ‘single trade window’ and ‘ecosystem of trust’, and aren’t currently making preparations surrounding the 2025 Border Strategy. 

Deputy director of the IOE&IT Academy, Vicky Payne, said it wasn’t a surprise that such a low number were aware of upcoming changes to UK export rules and procedures, saying that: “They’re new terms for traders and anyone involved in international trade to get used to.

“It is new to people, but you need to start following government updates about programs like the Single Trade Window because it will become more important going forward.”

The digitalisation of trade is expected to add around 1% to UK GDP with over £200 billion in efficiency savings according to the International Chamber of Commerce, but with all the upheaval surrounding Brexit and businesses having to adapt to a new trading environment with the EU, it’s no surprise that exporting firms are yet to look further down to locate new challenges. 

Read more: Irish trade re-focuses on EU markets, away from GB

However, both the single trade window, and ecosystem of trust, could really help exporting firms mitigate some of the additional red tape, costs and delays seen in the wake of Brexit by helping to streamline and standardise processes. 

Whilst UK trade bodies believe that a potential functional launch date for the scheme of 2027 is doable, 40% of those attending the IOE&IT webinar said that lack of internal IT skills and resources would be a major stumbling block to adopting any new trading system, though over half said it would benefit speed and efficiency of international trading operations.

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Irish trade re-focuses on EU markets, away from GB

Data from Dublin Port has shown how trade volume into Great Britain has fallen since Brexit, whilst exports into the EU have grown. 

From January to September last year, overall port throughput fell 3.3% compared to the year before, whilst imports saw a small 0.4% rise. 

CEO of Dublin Port, Eamonn O’Reilly, noted that there has been a switch in trade activity since Brexit. 

He said: “After nine months, the impact of Brexit on the profile of Dublin Ports’ trade has become clear with volumes on unitised services to Great Britain declining by just over one-fifth while volumes on services to Continental Europe increased by more than a more a third.

“Because of this, our unitised volumes are now split 50/50 between GB ports and ports in Continental Europe. Before Brexit, GB ports accounted for almost two-thirds.”

This shift in the direction of trade activity is having a negative impact on the port, with the volume of trailers moving through the port reducing. Almost 60,000 driver-accompanied loads that would have been expected before Brexit are now going through as unaccompanied trailers. 

Read more: UK-EU trade flows down a fifth against no-Brexit expectations

O’Reilly commented further: “This is bad news from a port capacity perspective.

“Our interpretation of this is that the average size of a load in a single container or trailer has reduced because operational efficiencies which the Single European Market had facilitated in trade with Britain has been removed because of Brexit.”

Get post-Brexit trade support

If your business is still working to adapt to the post-Brexit trading environment, Go Exporting can help. Our free post-Brexit planning checklist is a great place to start with ensuring you have everything in place to best mitigate – and look to take advantage of – the new trading arrangement. 

For strategic support and advice, learn more about our Brexit consultancy services.

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UK-EU trade flows down a fifth against no-Brexit expectations

A new study has highlighted how UK exports have suffered a big hit in the wake of leaving the EU. 

A report from the Economic and Social Research Institute showed a substantial reduction in the number of products traded, with activity between the UK into the EU down 16% against expected levels before Brexit. 

Things are even worse in the other direction, with trade from the EU back into the UK down by 20% against a non-Brexit scenario. 

However, the report did note that results vary depending on the data source and comparison used, highlighting the difficulty in definitively comparing the trading environment now against how it could have been if the UK had remained with the Single Market. 

Trade levels have recovered most of their pre-2021 falls in terms of value, but remain a lot lower than would have been expected compared to the growth that the EU is seeing trading with other nations. 

Export volumes from the UK around the world have continued to grow but at a slow rate, potentially as a spill-over effect from Brexit on supply chains. 

Business groups have urged the government to do more to help remove barriers to trade that Brexit has created. 

Growing through Brexit pains

Businesses around the UK have been struggling to adapt to the new trading environment with the EU, with more checks on goods and delays at borders putting pressure on costs and supply chains. 

New data last month showed how almost half of UK exporters say they’re exporting to the EU less, though the situation is gradually improving as businesses adapt. 

Issues with new compliance and regulations were cited as the main reason why UK exporters were facing difficulties, with 47% saying that compliance with the new rules was their primary problem, and one in three said new additional costs were hampering export efforts. 

If your business has been negatively affected by Brexit and are looking at ways to mitigate any loss of international earnings, Go Exporting can help. 

Our internal trade consultancy services have helped businesses of all sizes to expand their horizons and see growth in new international markets, finding where demand is strongest for their products and services, and creating winning launch strategies. 

Learn more about how we can support your business to thrive in the international marketplace here

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Disruption expected at Port of Dover in 2023 with introduction of new EU border system

Port of Dover authorities have warned they’re expecting another summer of disruption once the new EU border system is introduced. 

Dough Bannister, CEO of the port, said that the new EU border Entry/Exit System, or EES, that’s set to be introduced in May next year could cause more delays. 

Bannister commented that: “We need to see what the technology is going to be like and [we need] a sufficient amount of time to trial, test and train to use that technology before implementation.”

The system, which relates to the movement of people, will see the requirement for biometric checks for all non-EU passport holders (now including British citizens) to be registered the first time they enter an EU member state – including fingertips and photos. 

Trials of the technology are taking place this month, though Bannister warned he expected the new procedures from May next year to take five times longer than current procedures – up to 10 minutes per vehicle. 

“If the border gets sticky, it backs up very, very quickly.”

The impact of delays will also be felt by exporters shipping goods onto the continent with lorries destined for Europe getting caught up in the delays. 

Read more: Almost half of UK exporters say they’re exporting to EU less, but situation improving

The Home Office has noted in response that it is working ‘to make sure passengers are prepared and do not experience unnecessary delays at the border due to new entry and exit system checks being introduced next year’.

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Almost half of UK exporters say they’re exporting to EU less, but situation improving

Exports from UK businesses into the EU trading bloc are starting to recover following Brexit and the impact of Covid-19, but almost half of firms say total trading volume is still less than it was. 

In a webinar hosted by Pail McComb of the Department for International Trade, data shared indicated that exports to the continent have increased 11% in four quarters to 2022, noting that ‘in overall trade we’re definitely seeing an increase, and the trend is in the right direction, but maybe the pace of recovery isn’t quite as quick as we would have wanted’. 

Data from delegates on the webinar pointed to 45% saying that their exports to the EU had been negatively impacted, with a quarter saying things were about the same as before Brexit. Just 3% said export volumes have increased over the period. 

Watch the webinar in full below:

Issues with new compliance and regulations was cited as the main reason why UK exporters were meeting challenges, with 47% saying that compliance with the new rules was their primary problem, whilst one in three said new additional costs were hampering export efforts. 

If your business has faced challenges exporting into the EU following the UK’s departure from the Single Market, then Go Exporting can help. 

We have three free resources you can access right now to help check where you are right now, and to plan for the procedural and strategic changes you should be making to ensure your business can look to capitalise on the potential benefits of Brexit, as well as advice for EU firms looking to export into the British Isles. 

Access our resources below:

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Value of UK trade exports rise over £2 billion since Brexit

New data has shown how the value of UK exports globally have risen since Brexit. 

Figures from The Office for National Statistics detailed how exports to the EU rose 7.9% in July this year, worth £1.3 billion. Exports to non-EU countries also grew by 5.4% and £800 million. 

Despite difficulties for UK exporters trading with the EU following Brexit, growth was seen this summer thanks to higher demand and increased exports of fuel, machinery and transport equipment. 

The UK’s GDP also saw a small uplift of 0.2% during that time, despite an increasingly difficult economic situation for both the UK and EU nations as the recovery from Covid was halted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Business Brexit wounds still evident

Despite strong trade growth this summer, the picture for UK businesses has been difficult since the UK’s departure from the European Union and, in particular, the Single Market. 

Read more: One in three UK exporters have stopped international trade activity

Since the departure, 33% of UK exporters have ceased export activity with the EU bloc with most blaming a new raft of red tape and increased costs of doing business. 

If your business is struggling in the post-Brexit trading environment, then here at Go Exporting, we can help. 

Download our free guide on 7 Key Changes to UK-EU Trade Post-Brexit right here.

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One in three UK exporters have stopped international trade activity

New HMRC data has shone a light on the difficulties exporting UK businesses have faced over the last three years. 

The number of UK businesses exporting goods and products into the EU trading bloc fell by 33% between 2020 and 2021, from 27,000 to 18,000. 

Additional red tape as a result of Brexit has been blamed as the primary cause. 

Michelle Dale of UHY Hacker Young told City A.M. that: “Businesses are not getting enough support from the Government to navigate the post-Brexit trading minefield.

“A lot of SMEs can’t afford professional advice to cope with Brexit-related red tape. Many are likely to have decided trading with the EU is not worth the cost.

“Fewer UK companies exporting to the EU will result in lost opportunities for growth and expansion in Europe.”

Despite the negative data trend, HMRC has urged caution when comparing data from before January 2021 as the way in which the government collects data has changed. 

Get exporting support

Exporting products and services overseas is a fantastic way to grow a business, but it’s a difficult switch for any organisation to make even in the best of business environments. 

That’s where we at Go Exporting can help. 

Our international trade specialists support firms of all sizes to research and identify new markets, create winning exporting strategies and implement their new international trade operations. 

Learn more about how we help businesses just like yours here

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Steel exports from GB into Northern Ireland could face 25% tariffs

Exports of steel heading from Great Britain into Northern Ireland could soon face huge tariffs after the EU changed steel quota rules. 

Enacted due to the war in Ukraine and relating to the Northern Ireland protocol, new tariffs on certain steel products could hit 25%. 

Industry group, UK Steel, has already appealed to the government to suspend tariffs immediately, saying it’s ‘farcical that UK producers are now prevented by these tariffs from selling goods to customers in their own country’. 

Steel exports from GB into Northern Ireland had been tariff-free thanks to the tariff rate quota covering UK exports into the EU. 

The TRQ rules mean that certain products can be moved from country to country without tariffs being paid, so long as they don’t breach a quota mark. 

But the EU updated these rules in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, intended to give EU steel importers more flexibility in the absence of trading with Russia – resulting in quotas of GB supplies into NI hitting the limit faster than usual. 

Read more: Import taxes to be cut on goods from developing nations

Steel industry specialist Sam Lowe told the BBC that: “Whereas before the UK had access to its own country-specific quota, which it could rely on to accommodate steel moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, now these movements would be covered by the ‘other countries’ quota which could fill up much more quickly, given the entire world has access to it.

“Once it is full: 25% tariff on steel moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.”

The UK government has so far commented to say this is an example of the Northern Ireland Protocol ‘needlessly damaging trade within the UK’.

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HMRC urges firms to adopt Customs Declaration System or ‘risk being unable to bring goods into UK’

HMRC has warned UK firms yet to begin using the new Customs Declaration System that they may soon be unable to import products into the country. 

Over 3,500 firms risk significant delays if they don’t move to the new service within the next two months and are being warned that registration and adoption aren’t instantaneous either. 

HMRC’s director of programme and operational delivery for borders and trade, Julie Etheridge, noted, “There are now only two months left until businesses must use CDS for imports. Businesses need to move now or risk being unable to bring their goods into the UK.

“Registering takes time so businesses should start moving to the Customs Declaration Service to ensure a smooth transition and avoid disruption to their business.”

The new Customs Declaration System, brought in following the UK’s departure from the EU, includes a number of significant changes for importing businesses, including;

  • New data element fields with specific formats
  • New dashboards to monitor and manage declarations
  • A two-part customs procedure code, with a four-digit code combined with one of up to 99 three-digit additional procedure codes (APCs)
  • Requirement for more detailed customs information 

Vicky Payne of the IOT&IT additionally commented that: “With the new changes coming into place, I would highly recommend that firms properly understand all the elements of a customs declaration in addition to having access to the relevant platforms and other preparations for CDS.

“It is evident that traders will need to make several changes to adjust to the new system and the IOE&IT has products to support your learning.”

Businesses requiring more information can do so on the government’s website here

If your firm lacks the time or internal expertise and resources to manage the shift, then Go Exporting can help. Our Customs & Compliance Reports cover all aspects of your trade with a specific country or trade bloc, including the EU. 

Read more: Exports to EU fall to lowest level in 11 years as imports continue to rise

The result will provide you with a complete picture of the rules as they apply to your business and recommend the best processes and procedures for you to follow to meet both legal requirements and the goal of ‘least hassle’ for you and your customers. 

Find out more and get in touch here.

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‘Bonfire of the barriers’ promised for UK exporters

The government has promised a ‘bonfire’ of the current barriers to international trade for exporting business in the UK. 

International trade secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan made the announcement as part of a new drive to reduce red tape and barriers to exports around the world – estimated to be worth £20bn in economic benefit for British firms. 

There are 100 priority issues that have been identified by the Department for International Trade, including regulations on meat exports to Asia, rules delaying British medical devices entering South Africa, and restrictions on UK lawyers operating in Japan. 

The move is part of ongoing post-Brexit work to strengthen or create new trading routes for UK businesses outside of the EU. 

Trevelyan said in a statement that: “Every week we remove trade barriers somewhere around the world, helping more and more businesses all over the country.

“We know that businesses who export pay higher wages and are more productive than businesses who do not, but too often, complex trade rules and practical obstacles prevent them selling overseas.

“This bonfire of the barriers will grow our economy by allowing our brilliant businesses to satisfy the enormous global appetite for their goods and services.”

Whilst Brexit has caused major upheaval for the majority of import/export businesses in the UK, leaving the European Union has allowed the UK government to pursue independent trade agreements around the world, as well as addressing specific blockers on British trade. 

These include opening the Chinese market for UK lamb for the first time, worth £1.5bn a year, as well as beef in South Korea which within the next five years is hoped will open a market worth £2.5bn to British producers. 

So far, the DiT has identified and resolved around 400 trade barriers in the last two years, including barriers for individual businesses, including VetPlus where overcoming bureaucratic issues enabled the Lancashire-based firm to export pet supplements to India in a move worth £1.4m. 

VetPlus EMEA regional manager, Anthony Stewart, commented that: “Being able to meet the different compliance requirements across the markets we operate in is extremely important to ensure the availability of our products for vets and pet owners.

“Recently, we ran into a challenge in exporting our products to India and the support from the DIT was fantastic. They were able to put us in touch with the right people to help us liaise with the Indian authorities and facilitate the appropriate documentation to enable us to re-start the export of our products to India.”

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