British Business Leaders Pen Open Letter to Government, Cite Ongoing Trade Difficulties
Britain’s largest businesses have given the government a warning regarding the “substantial difficulties” they’ve been having since Brexit. They say that the situation has not been getting any easier and that there could be a massive loss of business if no action is taken.
The CBI, the British Chambers of Commerce, the manufacturers’ group Make UK, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors issued a letter to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove after a round table meeting last Thursday. This letter stated that the government must take quick action in order to overcome the many obstacles that the economy is facing. These complications are more noticeable among exporters, who are having difficulties receiving their custom certificates and experiencing frequent hold-ups at ports.
The associations decided to publish the letter after minister Gove attempted to minimize the magnitude of such difficulties regarding custom barriers. The groups consider there to be a lack of articulate advice about new EU trading regulations from the government. Gove declared that “some businesses are facing challenges with specific aspects of our new trading relationship with the EU” and added “I want to let them know that we will pull out all the stops to help them adjust.”
According to the business groups, a wide variety of problems were discussed during the meeting, including difficulties adapting to new custom processes, obstacles surrounding moving goods along the Dover-Calais route, and a shortage of precise information from government advisers and specialists. They also reminded the government that the grace periods agreed with the EU are about to expire in the next two months. January’s cross border traffic was rather slow compared to the usual standard, and businesses fear that if no measures are taken, the situation would deteriorate even more.
Some reports state that official advisors have been telling small UK businesses to register subsidiaries in the EU and use them to distribute goods more freely, since this seemed to be the best way to circumvent the issue. Other reports say that many of the lorries traveling from the UK to the EU via Calais and Dunkirk are not carrying anything, which would indicate that the situation has already gotten worse. Traffic in both directions across the channel decreased by 30% and lorry drivers are having delays at the French border, regarding issues with their health certificate for food shipments. The Government is expected to take up new measures soon, especially with a new budget plan on the horizon for March.