Brexit deal has made it harder for UK businesses to grow – survey

More than 1,168 businesses surveyed reported significant difficulties in using the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement signed in 2020 to ensure duty-free trade after Brexit takes effect.

The UK and EU have finalized the ACC agreement to allow duty-free trade when Brexit takes effect on 24 December 2020.
(AFP archive)

More than three-quarters of UK businesses say the EU-UK trade deal has made it harder to increase sales and grow their business, according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce.

A survey of more than 1,168 businesses released on Wednesday revealed significant challenges for UK businesses trying to use the 2020 Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) to ensure duty-free trade with the European Union after Brexit takes effect. .

More than three-quarters (77%) of UK businesses said ACC did not help their business grow or increase sales.

“This coincided with the start of a long, predictable period of recession and economic and supply chain disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine,” the report said.

The survey also found that up to 42% of product lines previously exported from the UK to the EU were discontinued in the first 15 months of the ACC.

“In 2022, UK goods exports to the EU recovered at the end of the first quarter and the second quarter, but at the end of the third quarter goods exports (inflated by fuel exports to the EU) turned negative again and services exports remained flat,” the study said. .

About 92% of the enterprises participating in the survey were small and medium enterprises.

New rules, new obstacles

In addition, 56% of businesses are having trouble adapting to the new rules on trade in goods, and 45% said they have problems with the new rules on trade in services.

About 44% of the companies said that they had difficulty in getting visas for their employees.

“Brexit was the biggest introduction of bureaucracy to business ever. An East Midlands manufacturer quoted in the commission’s investigative report said simply importing parts from the EU to repair broken machinery or raw materials has become a long-term nightmare for small businesses.

The report also notes that these challenges remain “intractable” given the UK’s current political climate.

“This is particularly relevant given the current state of EU-UK relations, primarily due to ongoing disagreements over the Ireland/Northern Ireland protocol, which have escalated over the years and remain unclear at the end of the year. »

The BCC, which carried out the biggest quarterly survey of UK businesses on its proposals for increasing trade between the UK and the EU, recommended an additional agreement with the EU and the UK concluding parallel agreements with the EU. and allowing member states to allow UK companies to travel and work in Europe for longer periods of time, among other things.

Britain officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020.

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Source: and agencies

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