FREE GUIDE: Finding international agents & distributors, the benefits & pitfalls

Free Webinar: Exporting to Ireland

At the start of the year, Go Exporting CEO Mike Wilson joined Business Wales to host a webinar on exporting to Ireland.

The webinar looked in detail at the opportunities for businesses in the Irish market, with information on the economy, key sectors and how to do business.

Watch in full below:

If your business is new to exporting or want some extra information on the steps involved, access our free Expert Exporter resource hub here.

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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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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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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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Import taxes to be cut on goods from developing nations

The UK is set to cut import taxes on hundreds of products from developing nations to help boost trade. 

Covering 65 developing countries, products including clothing and shoes could benefit from zero or lower tariffs in a move that has been created by The Developing Countries Trading Scheme. 

The scheme, which builds on similar programs the UK was part of whilst a member of the EU, builds on a list of thousands of products that developing nations can already export into the UK, including 99% of goods imported from Africa. 

The government hopes the scheme will promote trading diversity and support developing nations to drive prosperity and help eradicate poverty. It will also support retailers in the UK to bring off-season products from abroad and onto shelves, such as cucumbers, without having to increase prices. 

International trade secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said that: “As an independent trading nation, we are taking back control of our trade policy and making decisions that back UK businesses, help with the cost of living, and support the economies of developing countries around the world.”

Read more: Exports rise but UK trade deficit hits record levels

She continued: “UK businesses can look forward to less red tape and lower costs, incentivising firms to import goods from developing countries.”

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Exports rise but UK trade deficit hits record levels

New data from the Office of National Statistics has found that the UK’s trade deficit has increased at a record rate. 

The latest figures from the ONS show a fall in the value of imported and exported goods, creating a quarterly trade deficit of £27.9bn – up £2bn on the previous period. 

This marks the biggest jump in the gap between the value of exports and imports since 1997, with soaring energy costs, inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine all contributing to an increasingly difficult trading environment. 

In detail, imports increased by £14.3bn, with exports also rising but more slowly to £12.3bn, leaving a total trade deficit against the UK’s GDPR of 4.5%. 

More positive however was the UK’s trading relationship with the EU, with the value of goods moving back into the European Union rising 16.3% thanks in part to the re-exportation of fuel, ships, aircraft and mechanical machinery. 

Exports to the rest of the world also rose by just under 9%. 

This leaves a confusing picture as to how the UK economy is performing on the international stage, and just how able businesses have been to mitigate not only Brexit, but also recover from the pandemic and now mitigate inflation, war-related supply disruptions and surging fuel costs. 

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

Director general of the IOE&IT, Marco Forgione cautioned that: “Although superficially the ONS figures look positive, the IOE&IT Monthly Exporter Monitor shows that fewer companies are exporting and fewer goods are being exported. 

“This indicates there is significant inflationary pressure building in the economy.”

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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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Negotiations begin over trade deal between UK and Gulf nations

The UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council have kicked off the first round of trade talks in Riyadh in a deal that could cover more than £33bn in annual trade. 

The GCC, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, would be equivalent to the UK’s seventh-largest export market, with demand for international products and services in the region expected to rise to £800bn by 2035. 

The deal itself is expected to be worth around £1.6bn a year to the UK economy. 

These latest talks follow similar discussions with Canada and Mexico earlier this year. 

UK international trade secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, commented on the kick-off of trade negotiations that: “Today marks the next significant milestone in our 5-star year of trade as we step up the UK’s close relationship with the Gulf.

“Our current trading relationship was worth £33.1 billion in the last year alone. From our fantastic British food and drink to our outstanding financial services, I’m excited to open up new markets for UK businesses large and small, and supporting the more than ten thousand SMEs already exporting to the region.

“This trade deal has the potential to support jobs from Dover to Doha, growing our economy at home, building vital green industries and supplying innovative services to the Gulf.”

Key winners from any trade deal would include British farmers and producers, whilst tariffs on items such as chocolate, baking products, biscuits and smoked salmon could all be cut. 

A trade agreement would also open up the door to more inward investment from the Gulf into the UK, with investments from the region already supporting around 25,000 jobs in the UK alone. 

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