Exporters urgently need support to deal with Brexit red tape, says Business West as TCA is ratified

April 30, 2021

Business West, the region’s largest business group, has used the ratification of UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) to renew its plea for help for firms hit by Brexit-related red tape.

The TCA, the blueprint for free trade between following the UK’s departure from the EU, had been signed on December 30 last year but was only officially ratified this week. 

Business West head of international trade services Catherine Stephens, pictured, said while the ratification had been a smooth process, it should not be forgotten that firms had faced a “myriad of issues” since January.

Business West last Quarterly Economic Survey released earlier this month, which gauged the views of 300 South West exporters, revealed their overseas sales had fallen by 35.9%.

Those in the services industry suffered a decline in export sales of 38.5%, while manufacturers reported a 26.1% decrease.

“Over half of the exporters surveyed have been impacted by the TCA and a quarter more report that it is too early to tell the impact that this will have on their operations,” said Catherine.

“This follows a major British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) survey in January which found that 49% of the 3,000 exporters surveyed reported difficulties adapting to changes to trade in goods rules. Only 16% reported any ease in adapting to changes.

“Without adequate support for companies the effects of the deal could have a further negative impact on South West and UK economic prospects.” 

She said it was vital that the UK and the EU pressed on with talks so arrangements could be set out in the TCA to ensure trade could continue between them in the most frictionless way possible.

“It is crucial that the UK and EU work together to reduce and mitigate the disruption that businesses across the South West and the UK have faced and continue to face, especially in light of regulatory changes still to come,” she added.

Business West, which runs the Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative, has set up a service for businesses needing support with completing customs declarations. For more information, click here or contact one of Business West’s expert trade advisers on 01275 370712.





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