Businesses count cost of Brexit red tape


Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), visits a PPE manufacturing facility, in Seaton Delaval, Britain, Feb 13, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Brexit has left British manufacturers facing increased red tape and subsequently less revenue because of the greater complexity and cost of exporting goods to the European Union, a survey by a leading British industrial association has revealed.

Make UK describes itself as an organization that "champions and celebrates British manufacturing and manufacturers", a sector that employs almost 3 million people and is responsible for 60 percent of the country's research and development work.

A survey of more than 201 of its members revealed that almost one-third of those asked said they had encountered delays of up to two weeks when importing or exporting to the EU, with more than one-third saying they had lost revenue, and one in five saying the delays had cost them possible business. Almost three-quarters of companies asked said they had encountered delays during the last three months.

Figures published in Germany this week paint a similar picture from the other side of the Channel, with imports from the UK in January having slumped by more than 56 percent, based on the same month 12 months previously.

"Government needs to smooth out difficulties at UK ports so that shipments can easily be delivered," Make UK's chief executive Stephen Phipson told the Financial Times.

Brexit was sold on a promise of Britain taking back control of its borders, and improved international trade arrangements, better than the ones offered by being part of the EU, but for many exporters, the reality has been a huge increase in paperwork and bureaucracy, which has resulted in the need to recruit 50,000 more customs officers.

"We are encouraged that the government is already working to train more high-quality customs officials and to give more assistance with customs paperwork, but this needs to be driven forward at speed to give the quickest possible assistance to British companies already struggling to get back to normal as trade recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic," Phipson added.

The UK government says twenty million pounds ($27.9 million) has been made available to assist small businesses in adjusting to the new trade rules.

"We will ensure businesses get the support they need to trade effectively with Europe and to seize new opportunities as we strike trade deals with the world's fastest-growing markets," said a government spokesperson.

But The Guardian newspaper quoted several small businesses who have encountered only obstacles since the post-Brexit rules came into play.

Catherine Bedford, founder of cycling helmet company Dashel, said exporting had been made hugely difficult and her company had suffered as a result.

"Thanks to Brexit, we've gone from profitable to barely scraping by," she said. "We can't predict delivery times as items are being held up at French customs, our entry point into Europe. There is a massive backlog and items are being turned back despite up-to-date paperwork."

2021年2月13日,英国首相鲍里斯·约翰逊(Boris Johnson)戴着口罩,以防止冠状病毒疾病(新冠肺炎)的传播,他参观了位于英国西顿德拉瓦尔的个人防护装备制造厂。[图片/机构]英国一家主要工业协会的一项调查显示,由于向欧盟出口商品的复杂性和成本增加,英国退出欧盟让英国制造商面临更多的繁文缛节和随之而来的收入减少。英国制造(Make UK)自称是一个“支持和庆祝英国制造和制造商”的组织,该部门雇用了近300万人,负责该国60%的研发工作。一项针对201多名欧盟成员国的调查显示,近三分之一的受访者表示,他们在向欧盟进口或出口产品时遇到了长达两周的延误,超过三分之一的人表示他们损失了收入,五分之一的人表示延误让他们失去了可能的业务。近四分之三的受访公司表示,他们在过去三个月中遇到了延误。德国本周公布的数据描绘了英吉利海峡对岸的类似景象,1月份从英国的进口比12个月前的同月下降了56%以上。“政府需要消除英国港口的困难,以便货物能够轻松交付,”英国制造公司首席执行官斯蒂芬·菲普森(Stephen Phipson)对英国《金融时报》表示。英国退出欧盟被说服,承诺英国收回对其边境的控制权,并改善国际贸易安排,这比加入欧盟更好,但对许多出口商来说,现实是文书工作和官僚作风的大幅增加,这导致需要再招聘5万名海关官员。“我们感到鼓舞的是,政府已经在努力培训更多高质量的海关官员,并在海关文书工作方面给予更多帮助,但这需要尽快向前推进,为已经在努力从新冠肺炎疫情中恢复正常的英国公司提供尽可能最快的帮助,”菲普森补充说。英国政府表示,已经提供了2000万英镑(2790万美元)来帮助小企业适应新的贸易规则。一位政府发言人表示:“我们将确保企业获得与欧洲有效贸易所需的支持,并在我们与世界上增长最快的市场达成贸易协议时抓住新的机会。”但是《卫报》引用了几个小企业的话,这些小企业自后英国退出欧盟规则生效以来只遇到过障碍。自行车头盔公司达希尔的创始人凯瑟琳·贝德福德(Catherine Bedford)表示,出口变得非常困难,她的公司因此受到了影响。“多亏了英国退出欧盟,我们已经从盈利到勉强度日,”她说。“我们无法预测交货时间,因为物品在我们进入欧洲的入口法国海关被扣留。尽管有最新的文书工作,但仍有大量积压的物品被退回。

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