New Year changes ‘permanently damage’ EU trade, industry says

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Small businesses can expect trade with the European Union to be “permanently damaged” from January 1, a supply chain trade body has said.

New customs controls come into effect from today which the Cold Chain Federation says will make imports from the mainland “more expensive, less flexible and much slower”.

Imports of specialty foods could face a 70% drop – the same drop that impacted food exports by small businesses in 2021 after Britain left the single market and l ‘Customs Union.

Additional costs of up to £400 per shipment could mean food sales to European countries in small batches could become unprofitable, the industry body has said.

trade to suffer

“The big victim of these trade barriers is the business that has to import frequent small quantities across borders – a palette of specialty cheeses or boxes of onion powder. This is the kind of trade that will suffer” , said Shane Brennan, general manager of the federation. The Guardian.

Business groups have urged ministers to soften their stance in negotiations with the EU to avoid a collapse in trade with the bloc, but there has been little progress in cutting red tape.

Mike Cherry, president of the Federation of Small Businesses, said a survey found only a quarter of businesses were ready for the introduction of comprehensive import controls.

“We have no indication that the level of preparedness has improved, especially since the festive commercial season has been so disrupted again,” he said.

Boris Johnson has pledged to ‘maximize the benefits of Brexit’ in 2022 as consumers are warned to prepare for further disruption as new rules come into force.

The Prime Minister, marking a year since the entry into force of the post-Brexit free trade agreement with the EU, said the government would “go further and faster” to take advantage of “the enormous potential that our new freedoms bring” in the new year. .

But it comes as January 1 ushers in new trade barriers with the bloc, with rules saying importers must make a full customs declaration on goods entering the UK from the EU or other countries. .

“Reduce red tape”

Traders will no longer be able to delay making full import customs declarations for up to 175 days, a measure which was introduced to deal with the disruption of Brexit.

The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) said new border checks on animal and plant products from the EU could cause major delays at ports in the new year.

The UK imports five times the amount of food it exports to the EU, so the risk of massive delays and food supply problems in January is high.

Mobile phone users could also be affected by two of the UK’s four biggest networks – EE and Vodafone – reintroducing roaming charges for customers traveling within Europe from early 2022. Three are expected to reintroduce them in May 2022 .

However, the Prime Minister, announcing the departure from the EU for allowing Britain to forge its own policies on immigration, coronavirus vaccines, bilateral trade agreements and standards, said that his administration wanted to “reduce EU bureaucracy” and restore “common sense”. our rules” in 2022.

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