Following the signing of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the UK and the EU in 2020, manufacturers saw the greatest single change in how they trade and do business in the EU in more than four decades.

Brexit Six Months On

However, even businesses that had prepared for change still experienced significant disruption. The pressure is now easing for some, but many companies, particularly SMEs, are still experiencing challenges.

Britain’s manufacturers are calling on the Government to help ease continued difficulties and work with the EU to seek mutually beneficial improvements to the trading relationship. The new trading environment has ramped up cost, caused import and export delays, and is hampering smooth trade as companies struggle to recover from the COVID pandemic.

Make UK has published a new report – Trade and Cooperation with the EU: Six months on, which can be found here: Trade and cooperation with the EU: Six Months on | Make UK. The report explores the experiences of manufacturers in the first six months of this year and since the Trade and Cooperation Agreement was agreed at the end of last year.

Key findings include:

  • 96% of companies have faced challenges since the start of the year with the new trading environment
  • Nearly half (47%) had difficulty with customs processes initially. This has eased as companies’ understanding of the new rules improved
  • But over a third (36%) - mainly small and medium-sized companies - are still struggling with the new customs procedures and paperwork
  • More than a quarter (29%) say demonstrating the origin of their products is a challenge
  • Business travel remains almost completely untested as international travel beings to reopen for business bringing with it a critical risk for companies who still do not understand the business travel rules for the different EU member states
  • 86% of manufacturers want Government to work with the EU to ease the difficulties around export processes and customs formalities
  • Regulation key to manufacturers is now solely in the control of UK legislators. The UK Government must decide how this sovereignty is used to benefit manufacturers in the UK; the majority of manufacturers favour cooperation with the EU

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