A quarter of small exporters have stopped selling to the EU since the end of the Brexit transition

Some small companies have stopped exporting to the EU – permanently in a small percentage of cases

More than a quarter of small exporters have stopped selling to customers in the EU after delays in the post-Brexit transition.

The Association of Small Businesses (FSB) warns that what was previously dismissed as “teething troubles” could become systemic.

A survey of nearly 1,500 small businesses carried out by the FSB found that 23 percent had temporarily stopped selling to the EU, while four percent had stopped selling permanently. Eleven percent of exporters are considering a permanent standstill.

The same proportion had established or wanted to establish a presence in a European country in order to simplify the process. Around nine percent can secure warehouses on mainland Europe or in Northern Ireland for the same purpose or are already using them.

Small importers were particularly hard hit by new papers, with 17 percent temporarily stopping purchases from the EU. In addition, 70 percent of importers and exporters state that they have suffered delays in moving goods to the EU in the past few weeks. More than 30 percent lost goods in transit, and a slightly higher proportion kept goods indefinitely at EU border crossings. Of those who have experienced delays, more than a third have experienced delays that lasted longer than two weeks.

There has also been an increase in people seeking help with paperwork. More than half of the respondents needed support with customs declarations, rules of origin and new VAT obligations.

The FSB urged ministers to closely monitor the introduction of the SME Brexit Support Fund. They want the government to make sure small businesses know they can apply for funding in order to have access to a wide range of trading advice, training, and technology – not just for customs and brokers.

> See also: Where to find your £ 2,000 Brexit Support Fund grant?

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “Those who do business internationally are faced with incredibly challenging, unfamiliar papers.

“While larger companies have the resources and the bandwidth to overcome them independently, smaller traders are struggling and wondering whether exports are worth the hassle.”

How long are the shipping times now?

Research by forward2me shows that shipping times from Great Britain to the EU have increased since the end of the Brexit transition.

country Average delivery time (days) – December 2020 Average delivery time (days) – January 2021 difference
Bulgaria 3.82 7 p.m. 397.38%
Slovakia 4.64 18.25 293.32%
Latvia 3.31 11.25 239.88%
Estonia 4.42 3 p.m. 239.37%
Greece 5.66 17.34 206.36%
Germany 3.66 10.46 185.79%
Poland 4.55 12.68 178.68%
France 2.78 7.56 171.94%
Romania 4.02 10.62 164.18%

On the other hand, shipping times for UK exports to non-EU countries have been reduced. Between December 2020 and January 2021, shipping times to Kenya fell from 12.75 days to five days (-60.78 percent). In the meantime, shipping times to Greenland have dropped from three days to one day (-66.67 percent).

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Exports between the UK and the EU fell by over 40% in January 2021

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