Nearly half of firms face struggles importing goods from EU – Chambers survey

25 August 2021

A new study exploring the impact  of Brexit on business reveals nearly half of West Midlands firms have experienced difficulty importing goods from the EU since 1 January.

And 34 per cent have found it more difficult exporting goods to the EU since the end of the transition period.

The report – ‘Post Brexit Transition Period – An impact analysis on businesses based in the West Midlands Combined Authority area’ – has been released today by the Greater Birmingham, Coventry & Warwickshire and Black Country Chambers of Commerce.

It forms part of the work carried out by the Chambers in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority to help  local businesses adapt to the post-Brexit trading landscape

The report contains quantitative and qualitative feedback on the impact of Brexit and the ease of doing business for with the EU based.

It features feedback from more than 700 businesses across the region.

The report reveals:

  • 47 per cent of local businesses have found it more difficult importing goods from the EU since 1st January
  • 34 per cent of local businesses have found it more difficult exporting goods to the EU since 1st January
  • 40 per cent of respondents had experienced increased costs and 28% have experienced border delays as a result of the UK’s departure from the EU
  • 35 per cent of small and micro sized businesses lack the capacity to deal with the additional documentation requirements for trading with the EU

Key recommendations for the Government include:

  • Introducing a modified form of the SME Brexit Support Fund to support those smaller firms struggling with additional upfront costs
  • Supporting those operating in the cultural sector that fall outside the parameters of the Global Talent Visa in order to travel and work in the European Union
  • Agreeing mutual recognition arrangements for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures in order to minimise the additional administrative burdens that firms are facing
  • Using the extension of the easement period for CE Markings to tackle ongoing issues such as automotive businesses facing additional costs as a result of having to duplicate markings on certain components
  • Seeking further labour flexibility through additional agreements on services access and ability of workers to take up roles in both markets - particularly seen in terms of haulage and hospitality

Raj Kandola (pictured), head of policy of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “Our latest Brexit report highlight the substantive issues that a number of firms across the West Midlands have faced since the turn of the year ranging from cost pressures, additional administration and border delays.

“The good news is that the majority of businesses plan to maintain existing levels of trade with their European counterparts – it’s essential the Government uses the next six months to continue their dialogue with the business community to tackle some of these underlying challenges – the extension of the easement period for CE Markings was a welcome case in point.

“For those firms in the region that are being impacted by these particular issues, our International team is on hand to help businesses adapt to the new trading arrangements and continues to provide firms with Brexit related support and services following the end of the transition period – full details can be found on our website.

Click here to find out more about our International Hub.

Click here to attend our upcoming Brexit Grace Periods webinar.

Read the report here.

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