BCC Press Release: Brexit Trade Deal Not Delivering

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) published an embargoed BCC Press Release on their latest research on the effectiveness of the Brexit Trade Deal with the EU, two years after it was launched.

New data released from a survey of more than 1,168 businesses (92% SMEs) shows significant challenges for UK firms trying to use the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA).

The TCA was agreed on Christmas Eve in 2020 to allow tariff-free trade with the EU once Brexit took effect. But a high proportion of businesses say they are still having major problems trying to use the deal to trade with Europe.

The survey also found that alongside problems with the TCA, four in five (80%) firms had seen the cost of importing increase since January, more than half (53%) had seen their sales margins decrease and almost three quarters (70%) of manufacturers had experienced shortages of goods and services.


What Businesses Say

“Customs on both sides of the EU border seem to have a separate set of rules to be able to charge different amounts for the same thing. We don’t know until it’s too late what these costs are.”


Retailer in Dundee

“Leaving the EU made us uncompetitive with our EU customers. We would have lost all of our EU trade without a base in the EU. This has cost our business a huge amount of money which could have been invested in the UK had it not been for Brexit.”


Retailer in Ayrshire

“Exporting goods into the EU since Brexit, continues to prove difficult. We have experienced a lot of our goods going missing when they reach customs control. Due to additional import costs, we have found that quite a few of our EU customers that we have dealt with for a long time, in regard to providing a qualifying service, now stay within the EU instead of the UK.”


Manufacturer in the East Midlands

“Brexit has been the biggest ever imposition of bureaucracy on business. Simple importing of parts to fix broken machines or raw materials from the EU have become a major time-consuming nightmare for small businesses, and Brexit related logistics delays are a massive cost when machines are stood waiting for parts. We used to export lesser amounts to the EU, but the bureaucracy makes it no longer worthwhile.”

The full report on TCA can be found here