Western Morning News
Firms urged not to ditch EU exports despite Brexit hurdles
CORNWALL’S exporters have been urged to continue trading abroad despite short-term Brexit hurdles – or face losing overseas sales forever.
The Cornwall Chamber of Commerce has raised concerns that complex new requirements, red tape, extra costs and lack of support are compounding to create chaos for exporters to Europe.
But it stressed companies should not abandon overseas markets, even if there are obstacles, and even in the short term, because it could mean customers will look elsewhere for products.
Kim Conchie, chief executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, said: “Now is not the time to start cutting back on your exporting. Yes, it’s an extremely worrying situation, but we cannot afford to take a step back at this point.”
The chamber said that 2020 was the year UK businesses were expected to be bombarded with news of Brexit; receiving “reams of helpful information”, support from the Government, and other bodies in the exporting process, to guide them through any turbulence.
But the organisation said that what actually happened was that the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK and Brexit took a back seat.
Now that a trade deal with the European Union has been signed, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce is getting reports of exporters – particularly those transporting fresh produce such as meat and fish – are struggling to get their products through to the EU.
The chamber said the HMRC and freight forwarders don’t appear to have capacity to keep up with the extra volume of work.
On the EU side, additional certificates are bamboozling UK exporters and causing a delay in the system or even seeing them refused entry – something they cannot afford, especially where perishable products such as meat and fish are concerned.
The chamber said it is extremely worrying to hear that some EU companies are cancelling orders due to the issues they are having with getting goods onto the contintent.
Cornwall Chamber has vowed to continue to “hold the Government to account on its commitment to supporting businesses through Brexit and out the other side”. It said there is a clear message: if the UK stops exporting even for a short time, EU businesses will start to look elsewhere.
Cornwall Chamber is urging the Duchy’s exporters to utilise its services and the services of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) in order to do everything they can to get goods through to the EU.
Mr Conchie said: “If we let them down now we don’t know if we’ll ever get them back again; it’s not a risk we should be taking.”