Majority think the EU Trade deal with UK has pushed up costs, increased paperwork and delays, and put the UK at a competitive disadvantage.
New research carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce of more than 1,000 businesses has highlighted a host of issues with the UK’s trade deal with Europe. The BCC believes urgent steps should be taken to address these problems so the UK Government’s ambition to increase the number of firms exporting can be met.
Overall, just 8% of firms agreed that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) was ‘enabling their business to grow or increase sales’, while 54% disagreed. For UK exporters 12% agreed that the TCA was helping them while 71% disagreed.
When asked to comment on the specific advantage (for those that agreed) or disadvantage (for those that disagreed) of the trade deal, 59 firms identified an advantage, while 320 cited a disadvantage.
Of the 320 comments received on the disadvantage of the TCA, firms said:
- It had led to rising costs for companies and their clients
- Smaller businesses did not have the time and money to deal with the bureaucracy it had introduced
- It had put off EU customers from considering UK goods and services – due to the perceived costs and complexities.
“Nearly all of the businesses in this research have fewer than 250 employees and these smaller firms are feeling most of the pain of the new burdens in the TCA.
“Many of these companies have neither the time, staff or money to deal with the additional paperwork and rising costs involved with EU trade, nor can they afford to set up a new base in Europe or pay for intermediaries to represent them.
Just one of the BCC’s five key issues, and the solutions needed, to improve EU trade
ISSUE: As things stand CE marked industrial and electrical products will not be permitted for sale on the market in Great Britain from January 2023. The same is true for components and spares.
SOLUTION: We need action from the Government to help businesses with these timelines. Many firms are far from convinced about a ban on CE marked goods in Great Britain.
Brexit: Things Can Only Get Worse, with Jonty Bloom
A North Herts for Europe presentation with Jonty Bloom, formerly BBC business and economics correspondent, now freelance journalist and blogger.