Half of  UK exporters  report difficulties adapting to changes in EU-UK goods trade, survey says

11 February 2021


Almost half of UK exporters are facing difficulties adapting to changes in the trade of goods, following the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), according to a survey by British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

A total of 49% of exporters reported issues, and 51% of manufacturers also faced difficulties, according to the survey carried out between January 18 and 31 2021, which received 1,000 responses, mainly from SMEs. 


Specific difficulties concerns included increased administration, costs, delays, and confusion about what rules to follow. 

BCC director general, Adam Marshall, says: “The late agreement of a UK-EU trade deal left businesses in the dark on the detail until the last minute, so it’s unsurprising that so many businesses are experiencing practical difficulties as the new arrangements go live.  

“For some firms these concerns are existential, and go well beyond mere ‘teething problems’.  Companies should not simply have to give 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 stifling trade in both directions.”

Managing director of juke box manufacturer, Sound Leisure, Leeds, Chris Black, says: “As a business that exports 65 - 75% of what we manufacture, and the EU being a big part of that, we are concerned about tariffs, additional paperwork, and delays at the borders. 

“Only last week we attempted to ship some machines to Spain and were advised by the freight forwarder to store the machine here for a few more weeks until everything calmed down. There is a long way to go before we fully understand what the ‘new normal’ is.” 


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