Despite 100 days passing since the end of the Brexit transition period, official figures reveal that international trade has yet to recover.
In this blog, we’re going to explore what challenges businesses are facing, and how they can overcome them.
How is international trade faring?
According to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), four in 10 (41 per cent) exporters reported “decreased export sales” in the first three months of 2021, compared to just two in 10 (20 per cent) who reported “increased export sales”.
These figures remain largely consistent across each sector, including the important production, manufacturing, and construction industries.
Likewise, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that international trade has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, with January recording historically low trading activity.
What are the key challenges?
Research shows that most small businesses who traded internationally before Brexit did so only with the EU. It means that few were prepared for the new rules and processes already in place for the rest of the world – and now also the EU.
For example, if a new business were to start trading with the EU today, it would need to understand how tariffs and the rules of origin work, how to register for an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number, how import and export taxes work, how to register for VAT in a different country, how to certify certain goods (such as animal products), and how the Northern Ireland trade agreement operates.
What is the solution?
Without specialist advice and support, international trade can seem daunting to newcomers. Fortunately, there is help out there to support businesses who wish to sell their goods and services overseas.
This includes the new SME Brexit Support Fund. Under the £20 million scheme, businesses can claim up to £2,000 in grant funding to spend on professional advice – including accountant’s fees!
The cash can be spent on advice relating to a range of topics, including all of those mentioned above.