Half of firms “not confident” in trading with EU following introduction of full customs controls - Thorne Widgery

Customs Barrier

More than half of businesses are not confident in trading with the European Union (EU) following the introduction of full customs controls, a major study has found.

The research, published by the Institute of Export and International Trade (IOE&IT), suggests that traders are still getting up to speed with the new rules which came into force this year.

Here’s what the report says.

New rules tripping up traders

The survey shows that a large number of importers and exporters are still unfamiliar with the new customs controls that came into force on 1 January 2022.

This includes the requirement to make full import customs declarations and pay relevant tariffs at the point of import, as well as using the correct country code for the country of origin and the country of dispatch when you complete a customs declaration.

The new rules also introduce Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks on imports of agri-food products or products of plant origin from the EU in stages throughout 2022.

According to the poll, one in two (50 per cent) traders would not consider themselves “confident” in applying the new rules, with 16 per cent indicating that they are “not confident at all”.

But just two thirds (65 per cent) of businesses say they have undertaken additional training to adjust to the new post-Brexit trade rules and processes – suggesting why there may be a gap in knowledge and understanding.

A quarter (25 per cent) of firms have also not made any Brexit-related changes to their import or export arrangements.

Traders relying on external support

The report suggests that one in two (47 per cent) businesses have called on external support – such as a customs consultant or a freight forwarder – to deal with the new trade rules and processes, while one in five (21 per cent) firms have hired additional staff.

What support is available?

  • Firms can use the Export Support Service to ask questions about international trading, such as exporting to new markets, what paperwork you will need to sell your goods overseas, and rules for a specific country.
  • If you move goods in or out of Northern Ireland, the Trader Support Service will guide you through any changes due to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
  • Complete the trader checklist to find out what actions you need to take to comply.

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